Mido Cyber Academy’s first cohort recently celebrated their graduation ceremony with parents, sponsors and supporters.
Established in 2023 by The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in partnership with KnowBe4 Africa and MiDO Technologies, MiDO Cybersecurity Academy is an Intern Readiness Programme aimed at underserved communities within the Western Cape.
“The FCDO is striving to help solve the problem of cyber skill shortages on the continent through their Africa Cyber Programme (ACP), which aims to improve safe digital access, bring excluded populations into the digital economy, reduce poverty, and stimulate inclusive economic growth in South Africa.” says Victoria White, First Secretary – Political (Cyber) at British High Commission in South Africa.
Other supporting organisations include KPMG; Nclose, Infosec Advisory Group, Cybereason, Infosec Institute (Cengage), Stellenbosch University, Rain, The David Legacy, Orange Cyberdefense Usiko Stellenbosch and many individual cybersecurity professionals from both South Africa and abroad.
“With a focus on cybersecurity, critical thinking, soft skills, innovation, collaboration and personal resilience, we aim to bridge the digital and cyber skills divide that exists between job seekers and internships or junior positions available in the IT and cybersecurity market, thereby addressing both the high youth unemployment rate and the skills shortage in emerging technologies.” says Dale Simons, CEO of MiDO Technologies.
The academy offers a blended learning approach, combining e-learning with in-person facilitation, personal resilience training, life skills, industry exposure, and mentorship. The program’s duration is 10 months, targeting youths aged 18 to 24 and facilitating cohorts of up to 21 candidates, emphasizing real-world projects, candidate placement, and integration into the workforce.
Through industry involvement and support, such as masterclasses and hands-on project work students get exposed to real-life challenges faced by security industry professionals as well as the extra benefit of building up a network of senior members in the community and potential future employers. Having said that, two students have been successfully placed with Mobius Binary, and we want to ensure that all 21 students obtain internships.
“The problem we are faced with is not a ‘talent shortage’ but an ‘experience shortage’ and we urge South African and international technology teams to consider ways to expose these graduates to real projects and challenges. Cybersecurity is a career of life-long learning and their journey has only just started. It’s up to us to provide the opportunities via experiences”. says Anna Collard, SVP of Content Strategy and Evangelist of KnowBe4 Africa.
“Never stop improving, the field is always evolving and it’s our job to always grow our knowledge”, says Jared Laven, Mido graduate.