Fortinet program that retrains military vets to tackle cyber threats grows in Canada

One of Fortinet’s training initiatives for military veterans is picking up steam in Canada, according to the company’s head of global training.

The FortiVet program, which is meant to help military veterans looking for post-service work and help fill the cybersecurity skills gap across the IT industry, has gained significant momentum in Canada since it was introduced in 2017, according to Rob Rashotte, vice-president of global training and technical field enablement at Fortinet.

Globally, more than 150 veterans have moved through the program and found employment, and another 270 have been accepted.

While he couldn’t specify how many of those were from Canada, Rashotte said most of the Canadian veterans who participate in the program don’t have much technical experience, but they carry a wide variety of other professional skills that come in handy in sales, consulting, and further recruitment.

“We had one Canadian vet recently graduate from the program. He had about 16 years of military experience. Now he’s working as a sales engineer for Exclusive Networks, one of Fortinet’s largest distributors,” he explained. “That’s an example of someone coming into the program without a solid idea of what their career progression was going to be, and then landing a pretty prestigious role as a sales engineer.”

The program is a significant expense – Rashotte said he couldn’t specify how much that investment is – since it requires hundreds of people taking sophisticated training courses that normally cost “quite a lot of dollars”.
But the role of the FortiVet program doesn’t start and stop with the training, emphasized Rashotte.

“The idea here is that we’re not just training people and then saying, you know, best of luck, hope you find a job. We’re really making sure that we’re taking this full circle and providing them with a lot of opportunities on the other end and connecting them with potential employers.”

The FortiVet program falls under Fortinet’s Network Security Expert program, an eight-level certification program, which is designed for technical professionals who are interested in independent validation of their network security skills and experience, according to Fortinet.

Rashotte praised Fortinet’s channel partners for understanding the importance of the program and for playing a big part in the program’s success.

In addition to landing jobs for graduates, Rashotte said partners are just as passionate as him about closing the cybersecurity skills gap in Canada. According to Deloitte, Canada needs to fill 8,000 additional cybersecurity positions by 2021.

“Closing the cybersecurity skills gap is what I live and breath.”

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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