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Cyber Academy to boost underserved communities

A new UK-SA partnership will help to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap by supporting young South Africans to get jobs in the industry.

A new cyber academy programme, aimed at digitally upskilling underserved communities in the Western Cape, has been announced by the British High Commission Pretoria, in partnership with KnowBe4, KPMG, and MiDO Technologies.

The MiDO Cyber Academy programme will support 20 school leavers over nine months to gain valuable cyber, professional and life skills to prepare them for work placements in South African businesses.

The programme is a response to the dual challenges of youth unemployment and cybersecurity skills shortage in the country. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) 2022, the unemployment rate in South Africa was 63,9% for those aged 15-24, while the current official national rate stands at 34,5%. 

At the same time, skills shortages in the cybersecurity space hamper the growth of emerging technologies and the 4th industrial revolution. According to (ISC)²’s 2021 Cyber Workforce Report, in 2021 there were 2,72 million vacancies for security professionals that could not be filled.

“The programme aims to address these gaps by building a pipeline of talented and diverse young people who can pursue careers in cybersecurity and contribute to the digital transformation of South Africa,” says Anna Collard, SVP of content strategy  at KnowBe4 Africa.

 Victoria White, Southern Africa cyber lead at the British High Commission in Pretoria, says: “It also strives to attract more women to the sector because currently only 9% of the cybersecurity workforce in Africa are women. 55% of the current cohort candidates are female.”

The programme facilitates workshops and guest lectures from industry representatives, as well as exposure to companies for job shadowing and internship opportunities. Weekly mentor group sessions support the mentees by empowering them to resolve current issues and develop healthy coping strategies for the future.

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