Standard Chartered in collaboration with @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University has launched a mentorship program targeting women in any field with junior-level experience (2-3 years) seeking an entry into careers in Cybersecurity. This follows in-depth research and industry consultations that highlighted the wide skills and the gender gap in the cybersecurity space.
The program targets 100 women participants residing in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania and will be administered virtually with a structured and self-paced learning model with mentorship circles and fireside chats as key parts of the program. Mentors will be assigned to the participating women to guide them through the program.
Speaking during the launch, Kariuki Ngari, Standard Chartered Bank CEO (Kenya and East Africa Cluster) said, “technologies are coming together to create a completely new “exponential” and convergent world creating a very different way of interacting. This new world has resulted in a dramatic increase with Africa emerging as a favorite target of cybercriminals, with costly consequences. Cyber security mentorships that build capacity are critical for survival in this new world order.”
He went on to say, “ there is a shortage of 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals globally, our continent only has 10,000 certified cybersecurity professionals. More specifically, women in the field of cybersecurity account for only 24 percent of the overall workforce, with Africa and the Middle East having the lowest representation, at 10 percent. We, through our Future Makers program, are partnering with like-minded bodies such as Strathmore University to start the journey of ensuring that our world is safer and that women who are always marginalized are well represented and ready to serve in this exciting new world.”
The International Information System Security Certification Consortium’s Cybersecurity (ISC2) Workforce Study, reported that the world Cybersecurity workforce must grow by 65% in 2022 to effectively defend organizations’ critical assets, demonstrating the need for more capacity building in cyberspace. With a wide spectrum of roles and careers available ranging from penetration testers, ethical hackers, cybersecurity engineers, architects, and cybersecurity risk professionals among others, this program will expand job and career opportunities for women in a cybersecurity program.
Commenting on this, Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University, said, Locally, the most recent National Cybersecurity Report showed that during October – December 2020, the National KE-CIRT/CC detected 56,206,097 cyber threat events which was a 59.8% increase from the previous period. As such, with increasing cyber threats and limited talent in the workforce, we need to break entry barriers and provide technological and systemic structures that support the growth and competitiveness of cybersecurity professionals. This is more so for East African women in cybersecurity. With this program, we are creating a space for women in cybersecurity to get access to the support, skills, knowledge, and networks necessary for professional growth and we hope to see increased interest and adoption of cybersecurity roles by women in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. We also hope that this is only the first of many to come especially with Kenya cited as a regional innovation and technological hub.’’
The Cyber Mentorship Program will be run by Standard Chartered in collaboration with Strathmore University (@iLabAfrica Research and Innovation Centre) and is open to women applicants from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.