Press Release

Securing the future: BCIT and Cisco partner to skill the next generation of cybersecurity leaders

Securing the future: BCIT and Cisco partner to skill the next generation of cybersecurity leaders
Oct 12, 2022

News Summary

  • BCIT’s Industrial Network Cybersecurity (INC) Lab, the first-of-its kind facility in Canada, merges cybersecurity and industrial networking skills training to meet soaring demand for cybersecurity talent
  • This purpose-built Lab provides interactive industrial cybersecurity training to defend industrial, manufacturing, and critical infrastructure organizations against cyberthreats
  • Cisco Canada provided the technology in the Lab to give students real-world experience and bridge the digital skills gap to foster the next generation of cybersecurity leaders

VANCOUVER, October 12, 2022 – As more Canadian organizations face risk from the rise of cyber threats and attacks, a recent study from Cisco and Angus Reid shows that over a third (36%) of Canadian organizations say they lack the talent to properly invest in cybersecurity infrastructure.[1] 

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and Cisco Canada have partnered on the Industrial Network Cybersecurity (INC) Lab to address the global demand for cybersecurity talent. The INC Lab is a state-of-the-art facility for students in BCIT’s INC diploma program that merges cybersecurity and industrial network skills with game-based learning and real-world scenarios. Taught alongside Cisco Networking Academy, students learn to defend against cyberthreats to industrial, manufacturing, and critical infrastructure organizations.

“The INC program is a direct response to the industry’s growing need for cybersecurity skills to protect critical infrastructure and keep our communities running,” said David Leversage, Program Champion, BCIT. “The INC Lab gives students an edge – they hone their skills using the same industrial controls and latest Cisco technology found in the real-world. There is no other institution in North America that offers this type of immersive experience, and our in-demand graduates can pursue high-paying jobs in one of the hottest job markets.”

The INC program addresses the ongoing digital and cybersecurity skills gap facing Canada. Nearly two-thirds of Canadian businesses are struggling to find and hire the necessary talent with digital skills for their organizations. Of the 69% of respondents planning to hire more staff, 24% ranked cyber security as the top skill they’re looking to fill. In B.C. alone, 8 in 10 job vacancies require skill training or post-secondary education.

“The financial impact of cybercrime is set to cost the world $10.5 trillion by 2025. As more of our infrastructure is digitized – utilities, petroleum, food supply systems and more – it is critical that we have the talent to protect our industrial networks from threats and attacks,” said Shannon Leininger, president, Cisco Canada. “Cisco is investing its resources and expertise to help governments and the public sector fuel digital skills training and secure a pipeline of cybersecurity leaders. Canada relies on these skilled professionals to keep our communities safe and productive, while building toward a more resilient future.” 

Cisco Canada invested in the INC Lab by providing Networking Academy curriculum and technology that simulates control systems found in industrial settings like manufacturing plants and facilities. The investment was made through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration program, which forms strategic partnerships with governments to help build digitally inclusive societies, more resilient economies, and the workforce of the future.

The INC program is already helping to close the security skills gap, with a second cohort graduated this past June. The program’s popularity has resulted in 100% of graduates securing roles in relevant industries or pursuing further education. Overall student intake has doubled to 40 students, from the initial cohort of 20.

“Our customers in the energy, resources and industries sectors are facing increased business complexity. They require highly trained support to ensure the safety and security of their operations, both digital and otherwise,” said Kelly Michell, president, Charter. “Graduates from the INC program provide Charter with a pipeline of skilled cybersecurity talent to meet the growing needs of Canadian businesses. We train, grow and mentor INC grads to set them up for a successful career in cybersecurity.”

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[1] Cisco Canada: Canadian Innovation Priorities Survey, Cisco Canada and Angus Reid, September 2022,

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