Editorial

Fortinet and IBM team look beyond background with new cybersecurity training

Partnership to provide overlooked candidates, including refugees, asylum seekers, veterans and students, with the skills to enter or re-enter the workforce

Posted 21 August 2020 by Christine Horton


Fortinet is teaming up with IBM to help train traditionally untapped candidates for a career in cybersecurity.

The vendor is integrating its Network Security Expert training and certification curriculum with IBM’s SkillsBuild, a digital platform for users to develop technology and professional skills, including cybersecurity.

SkillsBuild provides jobseekers, including those with long-term unemployment, refugees, asylum seekers, veterans and students, with career fit assessments, training, personalised coaching and the experiential learning they need to enter or re-enter the workforce.

Fortinet points to a recent survey it conducted that found 68 percent of organisations struggle to recruit, hire and retain cybersecurity talent. With the global pandemic, this challenge has significantly increased.

“As both a technology company and learning organisation, Fortinet will work with IBM to make it easier for anyone to start a career in cybersecurity regardless of their background, previous access to education, or life experiences,” says Sandra Wheatley, SVP, customer marketing, threat intelligence and influencer communications at Fortinet.

The platform will now include cybersecurity curriculum from Fortinet’s NSE Training Institute for jobseekers looking for a career in security.

 Lisa Neddam, SkillsBuild program leader, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility, says some of the toughest challenges that businesses face today need skills that don’t require a traditional degree, such as cybersecurity experts.

Therefore, she adds, “there is a critical need to make sure everyone – from job seekers to professional transitioning to new careers – are gaining meaningful skills that align to industry needs. 

“That’s why, regardless of background, education or life experience, SkillsBuild will equip learners with the professional skills and mentorship they need to be more employable and navigate jobs in the new digital economy.”

Untapped candidates

The companies recognise the increase in jobseekers, including those who are unemployed and impacted by the pandemic. They say SkillsBuild’s content based on Fortinet’s training curriculum can assist individuals looking to learn new skills or expand their current cybersecurity knowledge so they can enter the field or progress in their career.

Additionally, they say they want to provide more learning opportunities to candidates who may typically be overlooked for a role in cybersecurity. These candidates include those with long-term unemployment or underemployment, young adults without traditional degrees, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, career changers, veterans and military spouses.

Fortinet and IBM are both working with non-profits focused on the military community worldwide – including CASY, SaluteMyJob and Soldier On – to provide veterans and military spouses training and skills to enter the workforce.

Through IBM’s SkillsBuild, learners can earn badges that offer evidence to employers of their expertise, including a cybersecurity badge for the courses leveraging Fortinet’s curriculum. These badges prepare learners toward a path to receive technology-focused certifications, such as Fortinet’s eight-level Certification Program. Another recent Fortinet survey that found that 82 percent of organisations prefer to hire candidates with certifications.