As physical distancing guidelines continue to impact the way everyone learns and works, cybersecurity has never been more important. At New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) Saint John Campus, learners are gaining the skills to ward off cyber attacks – skills they’ll soon be able to share with K-12 students and industries in the region.
With a Community Investment grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), NBCC is partnering with CyberNB, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Economic Development Greater Saint John (EDGSJ), and Saint John Energy to create a large-scale, fully simulated environment, where K-12 students and community members can learn how to protect critical infrastructure from cyber criminals.
“CIRA’s Community Investment grant is very competitive; NBCC is only the third college to receive this funding,” said Ann Drennan, Vice-President Academic and Research at NBCC. “Our success in receiving this grant is a testament to the quality of our cybersecurity faculty, industry leaders who are making NBCC a key player in the province’s growing cybersecurity ecosystem.”
The $83,900 grant will be used to purchase servers and network equipment, as well as equip a modern, training-focused lab to welcome K-12 students and IT representatives from the local business community who want to upgrade their cybersecurity skills.
It will also provide an experiential learning opportunity for NBCC learners, who will test software and hardware and practise in a real-world environment.
“We’ll be bringing in a factory floor component that can simulate power grids, health care systems, even water treatment systems,” said Ben McHarg, an instructor in NBCC’s Information Technology: Cybersecurity program. “It will be a fully-simulated business environment with both basic IT and industrial controls system components.”
Work on the lab is currently underway and McHarg expects to begin welcoming K-12 students and community partners in early 2021.
CIRA’s Community Investment Program supports initiatives that build a trusted internet for Canadians. CIRA is actively building a stronger internet in Canada by funding projects with charities, not-for-profits and the academic community that are doing good things for and through the Canadian internet.
With six campuses across New Brunswick, NBCC contributes to New Brunswick’s social and economic prosperity by supporting the aspirations of individual learners, seizing the opportunities of the labour market, and collaboratively solving the challenges of communities and industry. In addition to more than 90 certificate and diploma programs, NBCC also provides specialized and customized training to meet the needs of specific sectors and communities. Find out more information on NBCC programs by visiting: www.nbcc.ca.