With UK cybersecurity skills in short supply, focus must be on developing next generation

This week, Palo Alto Networks is training 17 cybersecurity faculty members from 13 University Technical Colleges (UTCs) across England, in an innovative move to support education on a national scale.

 The three-day ‘train the trainer’ course, taking place this week at SGS Berkeley Green UTC in Gloucester, will help to standardise the level of training across UTC faculty, enabling them to deliver a consistently high quality of networking and cybersecurity-related education to their 14- to 19-year-old students around the country. Using Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewalls, attendees will cover both theory and practical steps for installing, configuring and managing firewalls to defend enterprise networks. As part of the certification, all attending UTCs will also receive technology and resources for use in the classroom: a cybersecurity curriculum, Palo Alto Networks VM-50 virtualised firewalls and licenses, and assistance with curriculum adoption and lab options.

There are currently 51 government-funded UTCs across England, designed to provide an alternative and innovative technical education to students. Participants leave with practical, technical, and academic qualifications needed to pursue careers in today’s digital world.

With UK organisations currently facing a critical cybersecurity skills shortage, the UTC Cyber Group was established in September 2018 to bring companies together to help students develop the skills, knowledge, and understanding of the role that cybersecurity plays in today’s businesses and society. Palo Alto Networks is a founding member of the group and the first of the companies involved to run a technology certification training course for UTC faculty members.

 “We’re delighted to welcome our first cohort of UTC faculty members to take part in our Cybersecurity Academy program this week. This is the first time we’ve run a course for a whole network of education institutions together, helping to standardise student education across the different UTCs,” said Greg Day, VP and chief security officer for EMEA at Palo Alto Networks.

“The UK’s critical national infrastructure, government, businesses, and civil society all depend heavily on a plentiful supply of cybersecurity professionals to protect our digital future. It’s important that we’re focused on developing the next generation of talent equipped with the right skills to fill these key roles in the years ahead.”

“The cybersecurity industry is at crisis point when it comes to talent; we simply don’t have enough people to do this important work in the UK. We need a concerted commitment from companies like Palo Alto Networks to help tackle this problem and set us in good stead for the future,” added Michael Halliday, founder of the UTC Cyber Group and head of Employer Engagement Strategy for the Activate Learning Education Trust. 

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The 17 attendees who took part in the training are representatives of the following 13 UTCs: Berkeley Green (Gloucester), Bolton, Energy Coast (Cumbria), Heathrow, London Design and Engineering, North East Futures (Newcastle), Oxfordshire, Reading, Sheffield, Swindon, Warrington, Watford, and West Midlands.

This course is being run as part of the Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy program. Palo Alto Networks has trained more than 550 Cybersecurity Academies in over 60 countries around the world to develop the next-generation security workforce. For more information on the Academy program, please visit .

About Palo Alto Networks: The global cybersecurity leader, is shaping the cloud-centric future with technology that is transforming the way people and organizations operate. Our mission is to be the cybersecurity partner of choice, protecting our digital way of life. We help address the world's greatest security challenges with continuous innovation that seizes the latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, analytics, automation, and orchestration. By delivering an integrated platform and empowering a growing ecosystem of partners, we are at the forefront of protecting tens of thousands of organizations across clouds, networks, and mobile devices. Our vision is a world where each day is safer and more secure than the one before. 

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