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Open University set to train West Midlands residents in next-gen cyber skills

Computer experts from The Open University (OU) will roll out a FREE cyber programme for residents across the West Midlands.

The Open University has created a specialist cyber programme to provide industry standard training for residents across the region.

Funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) as part of the Beat the Bots Fund, CyberSkills, a 20-week part time programme for working adults, will upskill residents with much-needed specialist cyber training and help those who want to make a career change.

Bespoke, digital programme for entry level roles

Designed primarily for tech enthusiasts keen to find a path into the cyber profession, the programme will provide learners with the knowledge and skills required to carry out entry level roles in cyber security, such as cyber security analyst, information security analyst and network security specialist.

Residents will learn foundation level computer networking and networking security principles, before moving on to develop higher-level cyber operations skills.

Jane Dickinson, of The Open University, said:

“It is no secret that the world of work is changing. One way of preparing us for some of those changes is by retraining. Our new CyberSkills programme draws on the university’s expertise in assisting busy working adults to learn, many of whom may not have studied recently or in a supported online environment. Combining face to face and online elements, CyberSkills will allow people to learn around existing work or family commitments.

“We aim to equip those who complete the programme with new, in-demand cyber skills that are ready to put into practice in the workplace.”

Real-world industry application

To certify their skills, learners completing the programme will have the opportunity to achieve the internationally recognised Cisco CCNA Cyber Ops certification.

With strong industry links, the OU will look to support learners with career progression and offer employment resources to learners on the programme.

Commenting on CyberSkills, Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“Tech and cyber skills are in high demand across all sectors of the West Midlands as organisations look to skill up their workforce to meet the demands of the future.

“With The Open University’s experience in delivering flexible and engaging blended learning programmes in digital and new technologies, the WMCA is confident that CyberSkills will help to future-proof the region’s workforce.”

There are 60 places on offer and the programme is open to residents in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton, who are 18 years old and over.

If you or someone you know is interested in cyber security and would like to apply for the programme, visit www.open.ac.uk/cyber-skills

The closing date for applications will be 6 February 2020 and the programme will start on 24 February 2020.

About Author

Bridgette is part of the Media Relations team at The Open University, working with the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. She has over 10 years’ experience in external and internal communications, working in the NHS, Civil Service, education, non-for-profit and the housing sector. She has a BA (Hons) in Media and Communications (Public Relations) from Birmingham City University. Bridgette enjoys cooking in her downtime and has recently taken up painting as a mindfulness exercise.

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