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Cutting-edge 'CyberHub' launches in Birmingham to train the next generation

FE News article, 19th May 2022

The latest ‘Security Operations Centre’ (SOC) to join the CyberHub Trust network has been launched at BMet’s Matthew Boulton Campus today.

A photograph of showing the new Security Operations Centre at Birmingham Metropolitan College

This pioneering, national initiative aims to provide talented young people with the advanced digital skills they need to become Cyber Security and Cloud experts – tackling the skills gap in this rapidly expanding sector

Today’s event saw the unveiling of the new cutting-edge facility, featuring industry-standard equipment including workstations, networks, firewalls and proprietary Cyber Security software. Guests included representatives from sponsor Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and representatives from the Regional Organised Crime Units' (ROCU) Cyber Choices PREVENT teams.

The CyberHub Trust works in partnership with the college and Cyber Security specialists the BIT Group, supported by AWS and advised by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

In the new SOC, students will be able to gain practical, real-world experience in Cyber Security, including Threat-hunting, Data Mining & analysis; and preventative & remedial work in relation to Hacking – working under the guidance of trained & experienced Cyber Security professionals.

Importantly, the BMet CyberHub will be embedded within its local community. It will offer training and workshops to schoolchildren, parents and people looking to re-train and upskill, with a range of partners.

Local employers will also be able to access Cyber Security services – including Penetration Testing (when developing new websites, for example), Cyber Essentials Accreditation and prevention of, or responses to, incidences of hacking.

This is the third CyberHub SOC to be launched in the country, with SOCs already operational in London (Barking & Dagenham College) and Liverpool (Hugh Baird College), with plans to open a network of CyberHub SOCs in FE Colleges & Institutes of Technology (IoTs) across the country in the next few years, to address the huge Cyber & Cloud ‘Skills Gap’ facing the UK.

Michael Klonowski, CEO of The CyberHub Trust, says:

“We are delighted to be launching our third CyberHub SOC at BMet and are grateful to the college, our partners and our advisors for their support to get this pioneering community facility up and running.

“By bringing together educators, industry and digital experts, we can help tackle the growing skills gaps within the rapidly expanding cyber sector.

“And to do this, we need to provide learning and upskilling opportunities for people of all ages and from all backgrounds. The CyberHub SOC is a true community resource, which will provide a pathway to exciting training and fulfilling careers – and produce the next generation of much-needed cyber security experts.”

Each CyberHub is run by an approved, qualified and experienced specialist, who will also oversee delivery of training and apprenticeships. The BIT Group has been contracted to deliver the first three CyberHub SOCs, including the new BMET facility.

Jan Myatt, Vice Principal of the Birmingham Metropolitan College ‘Matthew Boulton’ campus, said:

“It is a very exciting time for BMet. Having the CyberHub at our college is a fantastic and innovative development for us, our students and our partners.

“Through the purpose-built Hub, people will gain a wealth of industry standard competencies, that will inspire interests and advance careers.

“As a college, we are always seeking ways to increase knowledge in a range of areas, including the digital arena, which the CyberHub definitely facilitates.”

Michael Dieroff, CEO of the BIT Group, added:

“We are proud to be announced as the official Service Provider to the third CyberHub Security Operations Centre (SOC) opening at the Birmingham Metropolitan College. It is an exciting time to be part of the national CyberHub journey, with the latest addition located in the heart of the UK.

“The college’s SOC and Training facilities will use the latest cyber technologies and analyst techniques to deliver affordable cyber security consultancy and training services to businesses locally in the area. At the same time, we will recruit locally to build our Birmingham Cyber Security team”.