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A new state of the art Cyber College is soon to open its doors in The Tees Valley. The college, which is based at Durham Tees Valley Airport, offers training, apprenticeships and business support in Cyber Security.

Having recently won a large skills funding contract, Bowen Consulting and Tees Valley Cyber College are welcoming business both large and small to sign up. By leveraging central government levy taxes and direct government funding, businesses can extend Digital Apprenticeships to both existing employees and external candidates to address the UK tech skills shortage and better equip themselves for the opportunities and threats of the digital age.

The College is the brainchild of Andrew Bowen, Chief Executive of Bowen Consulting. The company already provide a number of training and apprenticeship centres across the North of England in niche sectors encompassing IT Infrastructure, Digital Marketing & Data Analysis. This investment by Bowen Consulting marks another milestone for the region.

There have been repeated warnings about the lack of a skilled workforce for Cyber Security in the UK, despite a rising number of sophisticated cyber-attacks.

The number of these on industrial control systems increased by 110% in 2016 compared with 2015, cited IBM managed security systems.

Andrew Bowen says “Many businesses within the region are unsure about how exactly they should tackle certain threats and are further concerned that their business and its systems and suppliers may be vulnerable to attack.

“The Cyber College is here to benefit both SME’s and large companies within digital education, cyber security and ultimately provide real time and tangible methods of protecting your business especially considering the imminent new GDPR regulations.”

He added “with potentially up to 100% of the funding available to upskill your workforce or to recruit the relevant new skills within your business, now is fundamentally the time to start planning and we are well equipped to support.”

The Director of the Cyber College, Tracy McNicholas, stressed “This College is not being set up just to benefit companies within the digital technology sector; practically every business within our region has some element of digital infrastructure, whether that is processing orders, holding customer & supplier data or their machinery may be controlled electronically.

“We really feel that every business needs to embrace the potential short falls in skills within their business and address these as soon as possible. The interest and sign-ups so far have accessed over £100k of funding which has resulted in the creation of many new jobs for the region as well as companies identifying the upskilling required of their current workforce”.

The government recently set out its digital strategy and launched the Cyber Essentials accreditation which more and more businesses across the UK are looking to achieve. The Cyber College is well-appointed to help Tees Valley businesses achieve this.

Mr Bowen stated “For many businesses, they don’t know where to start with ensuring their company is safe and future proof. The Cyber College is set up to discuss your potential needs, offer practical steps and set out easy to manage business plans to assist in protecting their business. Additionally when it comes to business insurance against potential cyber threats, a question frequently asked, is that, does your company meet its obligations, not only to itself but also to its customers and its supply chain”.

This year’s intake will see the creation of over 100 apprentice positions comprising a L3 foundation year in IT Infrastructure & Cyber Essentials, moving onto a L4 Cyber Security Intrusion Analyst. Places are already filling up fast for the first courses starting this month. More information can be found at www.cybercollege.org.uk

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