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New Brunswick to offer bilingual cybersecurity program to all high school students

New Brunswick to offer bilingual cybersecurity program to all high school students

When high school resumes this September in New Brunswick, 1,500 students will have the opportunity to enroll in a three-year bilingual cybersecurity skills program affiliated with Cisco's Networking Academy.

The program, announced Wednesday, is a collaboration between the province, Cisco -- which is putting in $1.75 million -- and CyberNB, a non-profit agency that promotes the cybersecurity sector in the province.

"The program will help to strengthen New Brunswick as a leading center for cyber security in Canada and enable the province to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity jobs," the partners said in a joint announcement.

For those enrolled, the courses will be part of regular school work, although they will be taken mostly online. Courses of approximately 225 hours will be offered over three years.

Graduates will earn industry-recognized credentials as a Cisco-certified Cyber ​​Ops Associate. Plus, they can earn badges for passing Introduction to Cyber ​​Security, Cyber ​​Security Essentials, Networking Essentials, and more.

Ultimately the goal is to equip graduates with credentials that will be recognized by organizations so they can move into jobs, or after secondary school.

Course content will be determined by Cisco and CyberNB, which have appointed a program manager for the English and French language school boards. Provincial Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development will supervise

In an interview, Education Minister Dominic Cardi said the program fits in with the goal of providing New Brunswick students with more job-focused education opportunities.

“We are looking for opportunities to form partnerships with corporations, nonprofits, with many groups outside traditional government partners, as the global movement in education moves toward privatization, and the need to create digital experiences just for learning. Required. Not talking. Anything but doing it as part of my studies,” he said. We are going to provide opportunities to take cyber security courses as part of the work. That's exactly where I'm going. I want education to move forward - showing students not only what the jobs of the future are going to be like, but letting them participate in those jobs today, giving them a foundation, figuring out what they're going to do with their lives. to do with. "

The province is doing some funding for the program, but ultimately, Cardi said she expects it to be self-sustaining.

CyberNB chief executive Tyson Johnson said CyberNB has worked with the first province to offer "ad-hoc" cybersecurity courses in some schools. But the program is being offered to all high school students in the province. The Cisco nonprofit came and suggested that its Networking Academy could be taken advantage of.

Started in 1997, the academy offers free courses to colleges, universities, secondary schools, non-profit organizations, training centers, and even prisons. In Canada alone, it helps 235,000 learners acquire skills in IT through 215 educational institutions. The courses are designed to prepare students for Cisco certification, but there are other industry-recognized certification exams as well. Cisco says the courses are technology-agnostic; Students can apply their skills to the workforce whether or not they are using Cisco products.

One difference with the academy, Johnson said, is that it is structured in such a way that it requires a teacher in every school. This new program is online only, so it can be offered to every student.

"We want to find ways to address the skills gap, especially as digital acceleration becomes part of the economic recovery," Cisco Canada President Shannon Leininger said in an interview. “What we are doing with CyberNB and New Brunswick is really a great blueprint for building strategic partnerships across the government, private-public, non-profit sectors to address some of the skills gap.”

Hopefully, she said, this model can be used in other provinces.

Cisco's $1.75 million contribution will be used to fund IT infrastructure for the program, including a learning management system for teachers who decide to participate in the program.

The Cisco funding also includes the salaries of two program managers, who will work with the IT and technology leads on each school board to determine how the Cisco program will integrate with their curriculum.

Johnson said two provincial community colleges are asking how they can create a dual-credit curriculum that will help graduates enter a college-level IT program.

He added several cybersecurity companies in the province, who are aware of the new program, are happy that it will include "career-level training."

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