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BMet’s Matthew Boulton College showcased its pioneering CyberHub Security Operations Centre yesterday, encouraging young people to consider careers in cybersecurity and cloud technology.
Supported by the CyberHub Trust and sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the College hosted a visit from over 50 guests. These included representatives from the Home Office, Department for Education (DfE), Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Police (West Midlands Regional Cyber Crime Unit).
In addition, 11 Further Education colleges and Institutes of Technology (IoT) attended, coming from as far afield as Plymouth, Glasgow, Liverpool, Wales, Oxford and London.
Guests were shown around the College, including the AWS Digital Suite and the CyberHub Trust’s Security Operations Centre (SOC), which was launched at the College earlier this year. Here they were able to experience an interactive presentation by cybersecurity expert, Ben Franklin from the BIT Group, who works with the Trust to provide cyber services, training, and apprenticeships to students.
The 40 16–18-year-old students also took part in an interactive cybersecurity exercise, which was run by the West Midlands Regional Cyber Crime Unit. This gave them the opportunity to test their decision-making skills and awareness of potential security threats – which was very much enjoyed.
Michael Klonowski, CEO of The CyberHub Trust, says:
“It is fantastic to see so much support for our CyberHub network at BMet today. It is clear that employers are desperate to connect with young people who have great digital skills. We are helping to make these connections, as well as ensuring that skills are developed and used in a productive way. “Forming partnerships with employers, police, the National Crime Agency, FE colleges and Institutes of Technology is key to tackling the skills and experience gaps we are seeing. This unique approach is also enabling us to identify some amazing individuals who have the potential to become successful cybersecurity experts. “As the CyberHub network expands across the country, more young people will hopefully be inspired by the many opportunities available in this growing sector and have access to these.”
CyberHubs are based at FE colleges and Institutes of Technology (IoTs) to promote digital and cyber apprenticeships and training – specifically linked with cybersecurity and cloud technologies.
The CyberHub Trust works with digital employers, the National Crime Agency and related law-enforcement areas to identify technically capable individuals who may be at risk of criminal activity (eg. hacking). The young people are then encouraged to use their skills in a more productive way by offering specialist training and supporting them into exciting digital careers.
The Trust is also working with the Home Office, to help refine the process whereby these `at risk’ individuals are identified, supported and encouraged into productive careers in Cyber & Cloud technology.
DC Adrian Bacon, Regional Cyber Crime Prevent Officer, attended the event and added:
“Through this innovative project, young people are gaining access to opportunities and developing technical skills that they would not otherwise have had and this is great to see.
“Keeping young people in education and then supporting them into fulfilling careers undoubtedly reduces the risk of them becoming involved in cyber criminality. This means we are reducing their risk of offending, which is our key goal.”
The first CyberHub was launched at Barking and Dagenham College last year, followed by Hugh Baird College (Liverpool) and then Birmingham. More will be rolled out next year in Oxford and Teeside, as well as colleges in Wales and Scotland.
Crucially, each CyberHub is embedded within its local community. As well as providing post-16 training and apprenticeships, they offer training and workshops to schoolchildren, parents and people looking to re-train and upskill, with a range of partners. Local employers will also be able to access Cyber Security services.
Director for Creative, Digital, Business and Law at Matthew Boulton College, Oliver Stokes, said:
“The resources we have at Matthew Boulton College are exceptional, and have received a lot of attention from employers, including the Cyber Security team within the West Midlands police.
“The activities delivered at the event demonstrated our cutting-edge resources, the talent and calibre of our students and how they have benefitted from an enriched curriculum that bridges the gap to employment.
“The testimonies from existing students and alumni have been exceptional, demonstrating that we are a college with ambition and drive. We clearly care that our students develop industry standard skills, as well as confidence and resilience, to move onto positive destinations that challenge the norm.”
One of the students to have benefited from this initiative is Lehel J Nagy. A former Creative IT student at Matthew Boulton College, Lehel is now studying Cyber Security at university, He said:
“Being part of the college and having opportunities to be involved with AWS has been truly phenomenal for me and has helped me build my confidence, create rewarding industry contacts and learn a range of skills that are beneficial to my career journey. All of the activities and workshops that I have been a part of have been specifically tailored to employer needs and have enabled me to gain real insight into the area of work that I am passionate about.
“Since recently successfully completing my course at the college, I have embarked on an Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security course at Coventry University, which I am really enjoying and I feel excited for my future! It was great to share my experience and advice with others, including students who I can relate to.”
To find out more about the CyberHub Trust and the work it is doing around the country, visit: www.cyberhub.org.uk
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