Inverness College UHI launch cyber security Modern Apprenticeship with Capgemini

Inverness College UHI will deliver a Modern Apprenticeship in Information Security from September to meet the increased demand for cyber security skills in the Highlands and Islands.

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Georgina Parker, director of business development at Inverness College UHI, with Darren Robbins, senior security consultant at Capgemini.

Capgemini, a consulting, technology services and digital transformation company, is the first company in the Highlands to sign up its employees to the apprenticeship programme, which has been tailored by Inverness College UHI to meet the company’s specific needs.

Twelve existing employees will start the apprenticeship programme in September, with a further 10 due to come on board in January.

Delivery of the new modern apprenticeship represents a significant investment for Inverness College UHI, which plans to further expand its ICT provision to meet the skills demands of the Highlands’ growing digital sector, particularly its global business services sector.

IT outsourcing activity remains an increasingly important source of work in the region, employing more than 3000 people throughout the Highlands and Islands, while the number of people working in the ICT and digital technologies in Scotland is forecast to increase by 15 per cent by 2020.

Capgemini already has a workforce of around 500 in the Highlands, which includes 80 employees in its Highlands Security Operations Centre, and is also planning to create several new jobs there by the end of the year. The modern apprenticeship programme will allow the company to upskill existing and new staff in support of its growing cyber security delivery.

As well as studying towards an SVQ qualification, apprentices on the programme, which covers everything from information governance to threats to information security, security testing and risk management, will also have also have the opportunity to sit two cybersecurity operations exam, accredited by worldwide IT leader CISCO.

Inverness College UHI is one of only a few institutions in Scotland to deliver the CISCO qualifications.

Apprentices will be able to sit this exam at the new Pearson Test Centre at Inverness College UHI. The approved testing environment for a range of computer-based examinations opens in October.

Georgina Parker, director of business development at Inverness College UHI, said: “We recognise the increasing demand for ICT professionals skilled in cyber security in the Highlands and Islands and are delighted to be working with Capgemini to deliver this programme to the first wave of modern apprentices in the Highlands. It also represents a significant investment by Inverness College UHI in terms of staff resource and infrastructure, which will allow us to further expand our ICT provision. Lecturers at Inverness College UHI are CISCO accredited cyber operations instructors, meaning our teaching is current and relevant for students interested in a career in computing, cyber security and IT development and support.”

The one-to-two-year Modern Apprenticeship in Information Security will be delivered at Level 6 (the equivalent of a National Certificate) and Level 8 (the equivalent of a Higher National Diploma). Inverness College UHI also delivers a Modern Apprenticeship in Information Technology and Telecommunications as part of the University of the Highlands and Islands regional Modern Apprenticeship offering, which aims to provide employers with access to comprehensive apprenticeships tailored to meet their needs.

Capgemini employees will attend Inverness College one day per week, while an Inverness College UHI assessor will visit the workplace two days per week to observe and assess the apprentices.

Darren Robbins, senior security consultant at Capgemini, said: “Cyber security is an exciting area to build a career in, but it’s also still a relatively new field and there is a nationwide skills gap that we need to tackle to secure the future of our business, our clients, society and the local economy. We’ve been welcoming apprentices in our Highlands centre since 2012 and are confident that this new, highly specialised cyber security apprenticeship programme is the right route to achieving this goal. We look forward to supporting our apprentices as they develop their skills and gain recognised industry qualifications.”