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CyberNB and Cisco Canada partner for cyber education


Cisco Canada and Fredericton, N.B.-based CyberNB, in partnership with the New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, have announced a new program to deliver cybersecurity skills education and training to upwards of 1,500 high school students over the next three years.

Shannon Leininger, Cisco

Cisco Canada president and CEO Shannon Leininger shared that the company had been in talks with CyberNB for about a year to create an opportunity for the two organizations to come together and support their goals of upskilling students with cybersecurity with the help of the New Brunswick Department of Education.

“We want more kids to be interested in STEM and to create that pipeline and really to inspire and encourage them to kind of move into some of these areas,” Leininger said in a recent interview with Canadian Security. “We believe that we’ve got skills and experience to bring in this area –– we’re always looking to build partnerships with organizations that support our goals to enhance cybersecurity skills and develop and train in the areas of it.”

CyberNB CEO Tyson Johnson described the partnership with Cisco Canada as “a perfect marriage…What we’re able to do now for the first time in Canada is deliver these programs, not just to our schools, but to any student interested within whatever school they happen to be in, in the province on New Brunswick, which is really exciting,” Johnson said.

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Leininger and Johnson said that high school students from across New Brunswick in grades nine through 12 are the target demographic for the program, which will kick off in September, and will be available in both English and French.

Using the Cisco infrastructure, students will be able to log into the program from anywhere. The courses include intro to cyber, cyber essentials and networking essentials. According to Johnson, the program includes quizzes, tests, hands-on labs and practicums.

Tyson Johnson, CyberNB

Once the 255-hour program is completed, the students will receive the advanced Cisco Certified CyberOps associate credential, which validates the students’ skills and knowledge in security concepts, security monitoring, host-based analysis, network intrusion analysis, and security policies and procedures.

“The thing that I love about what we’re doing with CyberNB in the Government of New Brunswick is this public-private, not-for-profit partnership really does create a beautiful blueprint that we can replicate in other parts of the country,” Leininger said. “We’ll continue to do great work within that academy.”

Arguing that the skills acquired from the program are fundamental, Johnson says that the students will be able to apply the learnings from the program to whatever field they choose to go into.

“Cybersecurity is less of a vertical these days –– it’s more of a horizontal,” Johnson explained.

“These skills that these students will be learning will serve them well no matter what sector they end up going into because everything is becoming digitally enabled — and the ability to ensure digital resilience and understand what that means.”

Added Johnson: “We’re excited to see what the next year to three years holds for ramping up here in the province of New Brunswick.”