BC high schools launch cybersecurity program focused on bridging skills gap

Palo Alto Networks has partnered with BC’s Ministry of Education and IBM Canada to launch Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy, the first of its kind in Canadian high schools. The program aims to bridge the tech skills gap in Canada by preparing students for careers in cybersecurity.

The program was piloted in select high schools in order to prepare faculty on how to deliver the program across BC. Faculty provided feedback that some BC high schools may not have the resources to manage complex lab environments, and in order to roll out the program across BC, they needed access to virtual training labs. Palo Alto Networks then worked with Network Development Group to provide 20 virtual labs as a pilot environment for students to learn about firewall technology and to configure fundamental networking systems.

“Providing students with cybersecurity knowledge will give them a leg up when applying for an IT position and the opportunity to grow from there.”

“Providing these students with foundational cybersecurity knowledge and skills will give them a leg up when applying for an entry-level IT position and the opportunity to grow from there,” said Dan Myers, senior manager of Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy. “While we can’t close the cybersecurity workforce gap overnight, we’re dedicated to helping students of all ages understand the cyber risks out there and educating them on the best ways we can protect our way of life in the digital age.”

The courses focus on network security skills, including firewall installation, antivirus software, and zero-day vulnerabilities. Students will be prepared for careers in cybersecurity by learning about cyberthreats and how to defend against them. After completing the 12-month program, students are eligible for cybersecurity associate certification.

“With the shortage of skilled cybersecurity specialists across the world, I believe our students will benefit greatly from these courses in high school,” said Gary Chan, distributed learning coordinator at Richmond Virtual School in BC. “We are able to offer the courses within school and in a blended online model, which gives students an introduction to the cybersecurity world, and if they are inspired, to pursue a career in this field.”

Palo Alto Networks stated it has more than 450 active Cybersecurity Academies, operating in more than 55 countries around the world.

Featured image via Pixabay.


Sera Wong

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