Free, intensive cyber security training targets youth

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 12 Jul 2023
The new cohort of students at the Cyber Excellence Academy.
The new cohort of students at the Cyber Excellence Academy.

IT solutions provider Take Note IT has unveiled a Cyber Excellence Academy, in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to empower young South Africans with advanced cyber security skills.

It has been introduced with the support of the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA). The academy offers a free, intensive training programme to equip youth from underprivileged backgrounds with industry-relevant expertise in cyber security.

According to a statement, by fostering a deep understanding of cyber security principles, strategies and best practices, the academy aims to produce a new generation of highly-skilled cyber security employees who can proactively safeguard organisations against ever-evolving cyber threats.

The academy was officially launched in Pretoria this week, where the first two cohorts of students who will be participating in the six-month programme were announced.

Dr Jabu Mtsweni, CSIR head of the cyber and information security centre, explains: “The Cyber Excellence Academy goes beyond the traditional way of building our pipeline as the CSIR and for the nation into the grassroot levels, where we focus on the youth, females and unemployed from matric level.

“This we do because we have learned that many of those with matric or higher certificates struggle to either go to varsity or enter the job market, despite the great potential they have.

“As such, this security programme, in line with the CSIR’s strategic objectives and EPIC [excellence, passion, integrity and collaboration] values, aims to contribute towards skills development and on-the-job training, in collaboration with industry.”

The curriculum, which takes a theoretical and practical approach using virtual labs, is taught by instructors who are industry practitioners.

It covers a range of cyber security domains, including network security, ethical hacking, digital forensics, risk management and incident response.

According to Take Note IT, the collaboration with the CSIR ensures the Cyber Excellence Academy aligns with the latest research and development in the field of cyber security.

Furthermore, the MICT SETA collaboration ensures the academy’s curriculum adherers to industry standards and addresses the specific needs of the rapidly-evolving cyber security industry, it adds.

According to the Fortinet Training Institute’s 2023 Global Cyber Security Skills Gap report, 40% of South African companies struggle to hire and retain cyber security talent, as the skills gap continues to widen.

“This academy will play a pivotal role in training the new generation of cyber youth, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the digital world,” says Mamela Luthuli, CEO of Take Note IT.

“By investing in talent development, Take Note IT not only ensures its future growth but also fosters employment prospects for individuals seeking careers in the cyber security field.”

At the end of the training, successful participants receive a certificate and they will be placed with Take Note IT, as well as its clients and partners.

Youth who are interested in applying to become part of the next cohort, can send an e-mail to