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Upskilling Canada's Future Cybersecurity Workforce

Developing new pathways for BIPOC talent into the digital economy.

Project Overview

Last updated June 20, 2024

The Problem

Canada’s rapidly growing cybersecurity sector faces significant talent and diversity gaps, with over 20,000 current job vacancies. Yet less than 20% of Canada’s cybersecurity workforce self identifies as women and/or Black, Indigenous and Persons of Colour (BIPOC).

How We Are Solving It

This project will address these gaps by upskilling 50 BIPOC workers into new, in-demand roles in Canada’s cybersecurity sector. The Fields Institute will partner with the Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN) to scale Cyber Connexion – an 8-week, live, virtual bootcamp that equips workers with the skills and network connections needed to land new cybersecurity jobs.

These 50 BIPOC workers will be retrained into high-demand cybersecurity roles in key regions across Canada including the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa-Carleton, London-Middlesex, Calgary Centre and Edmonton Centre.

By working with the Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN), participants will benefit from their recruitment, training and enhanced access to the digital labour market for BIPOC talent. The collaboration will leverage both Cyber Connexion’s and BPTN’s strong industry networks to recruit and engage upwards of 30 high-growth innovation firms across Canada as industry partners. These companies will be engaged in multiple aspects of the development and delivery of the program, including taking part in specialized training on how to adopt inclusive recruitment, hiring and retention practices. This component will also include direct engagement in program delivery via industry showcases, panels, and industry demos, as well as engagement in matching and hiring of program candidates.

The Result

This project was able to secure over 30+ partners across Canada to successfully deliver training to 50 participants, 70% of which self-identified as BIPOC. 42 participants completed the full course of training in fundamental areas of cybersecurity, such as cryptography, network security and defensive security. Participants were also able to access additional training on cloud architecting, machine learning (ML) and cloud development.

Program sponsorship from corporate partners was used to offer loan support for students and remove barriers of typical up-front registration fees.

Over 24 industry guest speakers participated in the programming, which resulted in enhanced industry interaction with the academic community and the opportunity to mentor emerging talent with job-relevant industry expertise. In addition to providing industry insights, these guest speakers also advised on curriculum and actively participated in Capstone showcases, significantly enriching the educational experience and expanding the professional network for our participants.

Project Lead

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Project Partners

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