Innovative course from BIT Group helps businesses tackle the cyber security skills gap

Innovative cyber security course designed by BIT Group and East London Institute of Technology (ELIoT) tackles national cyber skills gap

Accessible approach helps companies train ‘homegrown’ security champions, ready to defend against hackers and data breaches

An innovative cyber security training course designed and developed by the BIT Group (BluescreenIT), in collaboration with the East London Institute of Technology and the CyberHub Trust, is boosting essential cyber security capabilities in businesses. 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 organisations and customers against costly and damaging cyberattacks and data breaches.

The BIT Group – a specialist in bespoke IT and cyber security training for commercial and further education organisations – teamed up with the East London IoT and the CyberHub Trust as part of a Department for Education (DfE) In Work Skills Pilot, to design the training programme. The BIT Group is also delivering the course on-site.

The course has been created to help address the 10,000-person shortfall in the UK’s cyber security recruitment pool, identified in a 2021 government study. The approach 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 organisations 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.

The 10-day course has attracted participants from a number of high-profile global companies including HSBC, HMRC, TikTok and Amazon.

Muhammed Khan, an Open-Source Software Risk and Compliance Specialist, said after completing the course: “I’ve always had an interest in cyber security, and wanted to upskill myself to hopefully help me land a role in this industry. The most valuable thing was the mixture of theory and practical based learning, which is crucial as the industry values this. I’ve recently accepted a new job offer and I’m certain the skills, knowledge and experience will help me on a day-to-day basis in my role.”

Ben Franklin, CTO of the BIT Group, says: “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. 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 organisations – many of which don’t have a dedicated security department – by developing ‘homegrown’ security champions who can create and sustain momentum internally.”

The courseware has been accredited by the NCSC and the AMPG Security Foundation. Participants take back to their organisations the knowledge and competencies necessary to safeguard their network, customers and communities against rising security threats, including ransomware.

The syllabus of the Information Security Analyst – Foundation course covers a comprehensive range of topics, to enable teams to understand their organisation’s security baseline, and cast light on vulnerabilities so these can be proactively addressed. These include:

  • 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)
  • Risk management – including national and global frameworks and standards.

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 organisations and enterprises that wish to offer it in-house.

Shafaat Shah, Curriculum Manager – Business, Professional & IT, ELIoT/Barking & Dagenham College comments: “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. 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.”

Michael Klonowski, CEO of the CyberHub Trust, said: “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. 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.”

 

About the BIT Group (Bluescreen IT)

Since 2004, the BIT Group (previously known as BluescreenIT) has provided award-winning commercial IT and cyber security training to support organisations and IT professionals across the UK and the world.

The company continues to grow, with its head office in the south west and operations in Cambridge, Birmingham, Liverpool and London. The BIT Group has a proud heritage of working with the MoD, winning a Silver Armed Forces Covenants Award in 2021. As official service provider to the CyberHub Trust, it is enabled to pursue its passion for delivering community driven security and training services, not only to the south west, but the whole of the UK.

The BIT Group operates three specialist business arms: BIT Training, BIT Security and BIT Research. Brought together, the group provides organisations with a bespoke, innovative ecosystem to protect and enhance the most important assets of their business: the people, the processes and the technology.

About Barking & Dagenham College

Barking & Dagenham College offers higher level technical and professional training, from entry to level 7 that prepares people for work or for university. Operating from five specialist sites, with industry-standard facilities and real-work training environments, the College welcomes all age groups. The College has an established Higher Education programme (HNC/D, degree, postgraduate) in addition to a wider range of professional body qualifications.

Barking & Dagenham College is one of the leading providers of intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeship training in London, training around 1000 apprentices and working with around 300 employer clients each year.  Specialisms include Construction, Project Management, Human Resources Management, Business and Pharmacy.

The College has the Matrix Award for Advice and Guidance, STEM Assured kite mark, Investors in People Gold Status and its HE offer achieved QAA standards in 2015. The College has won a number of prestigious national awards including: Beacon status by the AoC in 2016, Coding College of the Year 2016, as well as the Tes Award for Best Teaching and Learning Initiative in 2018 for its “holistically and usefully” integrated STEM across wider curriculum areas. In April 2018 the College was named as Training Provider of the Year by Creative & Cultural Skills.

Its teaching staff has received a number of nominations and awards: VQ Teacher of the Year 2016, Pearson FE Lecturer of the Year Silver Teaching Award 2016, Regional Santander Employability Champion Winner for London and the South East 2017, two teachers awarded in Maths Teacher of the Year Awards 2017, ENTHUSE award for excellence in STEM teaching 2017, a top 50 shortlist for Global Teacher of the Year 2017 and winner of the Festival of Learning National Tutor Award 2017.

With 12,500 students, an annual turnover of £35 million (Source: Audited Accounts 2017/2018), and outstanding financial health, the College has been praised by Ofsted for its outstanding support for students, its outstanding leadership and management, and its excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship.  In 2015 the College became a Digital & Creative Industries Career College – further information can be found at www.careercolleges.org.uk

More information can be found at www.bdc.ac.uk

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