News & Views

BIT Group and ElioT tackle cyberskills gap

An innovative cyber security course designed by BIT Group (www.bluescreenit.co.uk/) and East London Institute of Technology (ELIoT) (www.institutesoftechnology.org.uk/east-london-institute-of-technology) in collaboration with the CyberHub Trust (https://cyberhub.org.uk/) aims to tackle national cyber skills gap.

The  ‘Information Security Analyst – Foundation’ course is designed to give IT professionals who are already in work a thorough grounding in cyber security skills, equipping them to protect their organizations and customers against costly and damaging cyberattacks and data breaches.

Designed to help address the 10,000-person shortfall in the UK’s cyber security recruitment pool, identified in a 2021 government study, the course  enables employers to build information security resources internally, without needing to hire new people or invest in external support.

Aimed at making cyber security skills more accessible, the training provides a broad insight into ‘everything cyber’, running on alternate weeks to fit around participants’ day jobs.  The skills they learn also give their employer a starting point to work towards the government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme, developed to help organizations defend themselves against online threats.  

Participants are trained within the CyberHub Security Operations Centre (SOC) at the East London IoT on Barking & Dagenham College’s Rush Green Campus; a fully-functional security operations environment.  This makes the East London IoT one of only three Further Education Providers in the UK – and the very first CyberHub – to have its own on-site SOC, giving professionals a unique opportunity to learn in a hands-on way in a realistic environment.
 
“There’s a nationwide shortage in cyber security skills, and we want to play a role in driving capabilities up at a UK wide level – particularly in areas where this is currently underfunded,” says Ben Franklin, CTO, BIT Group.  “The course we’re delivering with ELIoT helps companies address the skills gap by educating professionals who already understand IT in how to secure it.  This also helps stimulate a culture of security across these organizations – many of which don’t have a dedicated security department – by developing ‘homegrown’ security champions who can create and sustain momentum internally.”

“The College and its partners play a vital role in upskilling people who are already in jobs, to help develop their careers and provide the talent that businesses need for the future,” adds Shafaat Shah, Curriculum Manager – Business, Professional & IT, ELIoT/Barking & Dagenham College.  “This pilot training course provided a more accessible way to access cyber security training for SMEs, enabling their existing staff to upskill, gaining in-house expertise in this crucial area.”  
 
“Our unique CyberHubs allow us to work together with government, law enforcement, educators and digital experts to develop and deliver pioneering Cyber, Cloud and Digital courses, work experience and, ultimately, careers,” says Michael Klonowski, CEO, CyberHub Trust.  “The digital landscape is expanding exponentially and, as a result, cybercrime and the need for cyber security solutions is also growing, meaning there are some incredibly exciting career opportunities on offer.”
 
The syllabus of the ‘Information Security Analyst – Foundation’ course covers a comprehensive range of topics including: Methodology of security – and the defence in depth approach; Vulnerabilities and risks, and what these mean to the business; Service management; Working within the security operations centre (SOC) environment; Effective incident response; Security of industrial control systems and CNI (critical national infrastructure); and Risk management – including national and global frameworks and standards.
 
Delivered over ten days, the courseware has been accredited by the NCSC and the AMPG Security Foundation.

The BIT Group now plans to roll out similar bespoke courses in partnership with further education establishments in other areas of the UK.  It will also offer to develop similar courses in partnership with organizations and enterprises that wish to offer it in-house.