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Security skills paramount as SA preps for cybersecurity shakeup

T-Systems South Africa has teamed up with Fortinet to create a specialised Cyber Security Academy incorporated into the organisation’s existing ICT Academy accessible to the youth from local community.

The new Academy will include Fortinet’s Network Security Expert (NSE) certifications, helping participants build cyber security awareness skills and upskill to address a widening global cyber security workforce shortage in the market.

Marcus Karuppan, ICT Academy Manager at T-Systems South Africa, says South Africa’s cybersecurity market is ready for a shakeup.

“We need to start looking local for skills. As we grow into a borderless market it really won't matter where you work from, but rather if you can deliver. Our aim is to be able to equip our youth with the relevant skills to be able to compete at a global.”

According to Karuppan cybersecurity has become a top C-level priority worldwide with skills in high demand.

He says Comptia Security+ is a sought-after entry level qualification, while the demand for digital forensic skills also remains high.

“With the addition of this focus to our ICT Academy, we are empowering participants with new skills that will make them even more employable,” explains Karuppan.

“T-Systems has been a Fortinet partner for many years and we offer their solutions to our customers. Building on our relationship, we are now collaborating with them to focus on cybersecurity skills development and awareness. We see the benefits in their program first-hand as many of the students that graduate from the ICT Academy are employed at T-Systems South Africa and we see the value in having our technicians hold these certifications. This means that the participants have excellent potential for employment with us and other ICT firms at the end of their learning period,” he adds.

The ICT Academy offers learners the opportunity to study toward an NQF4 qualification in their first year, which includes technical support, CompTIA and ICDL.

The second year offers an NQF5 qualification to earn their national certification in either Telecommunications Network Operations, Systems Support or Systems Development.

Collaborating with the Fortinet’s Security Academy Program, will also enable participants to complete Fortinet’s NSE certification level 4 (NSE4) qualification.

Karuppan confirms that the Academy is focused on South Africa and this year’s intake will be ten learners, with the intention to recruit 20 learners per year just for cybersecurity.

Doros Hadjizenonos, Regional Director for Africa at Fortinet, “We’re proud to extend our solution selling relationship with T-Systems to include sharing the valuable curriculum from the Fortinet NSE Training Institute. T-Systems is a leader in expanding education access to close the cybersecurity skills gap. Our goal is to enable CSI programs like the ICT Academy to empower participants with an international qualification. We cover the cost of the online curriculum and certification to enable this program to be offered to the broader base of learners as possible, and the ICT Academy will fund the cost of the facilities and resources required for program implementation.”

Learners who are already part of the ICT Academy will now be able to gain additional skills in infrastructure security as well as the new cyber security stream. New learners will also be able to join the new cyber security program.

“Empowered with an international certification from our ICT Academy, learners are able to apply for both local and global jobs abroad. As all of our learners come from disadvantaged backgrounds, this is an incredible opportunity for them to gain valuable qualifications and experience. Our goal is to create a pool of employable graduates with skills in the security sector to help address a noticeable skills gap in South Africa,” Karuppan concludes.

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