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Cybersecurity education - treat it like a trade

Canadian universities are at the heart of all cybersecurity intersections, from students, faculty, R&D, employers, government funding and local association and community.

The challenge in Canada, is that education is a provincial jurisdiction and therefore educational decisions and funding for the most part come from the provinces, leading to various approaches to cybersecurity education and curriculum across the country. Cybersecurity education is different from one jurisdiction, from one school to another and most students are not finding suitable COOP or full time work on graduation. Much of this is due to education/employer mismatch and to student/work experience mismatch. How do we solve this issue?

One of the needs of our industry is to start treating cybersecurity education in Canada like a trade. Where all students require specialized training and have access to various government funded employer-based work stages, so they can be employer ready. This is critical in today’s high stress, high demand, little time work environments, where current professionals are being pushed to the limit, with limited time for training and stretched cybersecurity budgets.

Bringing together the funding, the right curriculum and work opportunities that meet industry needs now, is critical for Canada. It's important that we all start working hard to bring all elements of our cyber ecosystem together, so that we can develop a “cyber ready workforce” right out of school. The cybersecurity landscape is not slowing down but accelerating with AI and Quantum while the criminals are doubling down with attacks that are more complex and impactful on Canadians. Canada must come together collectively around education and make sure we can protect our values and quality of life. The time for decisions is now.