Sophos arrives in Ottawa, partners with Willis College to develop talent

British cybersecurity firm Sophos opened its new Ottawa office Wednesday and is counting on a private local college to fill it with qualified staff.

Sophos and Willis College have announced a partnership that will see Willis launch a cybersecurity education program to help address a current skills shortage in that sector.

“Willis College has a great reputation for supporting private industry and developing programs that teach students the valuable skills and qualifications required for positions that we have open today,” Sophos senior vice-president of global support and services Michael Anderson said in a statement. “Our relationship with Willis College and with Ottawa will also enable Sophos to expand our investments in the future.”

Sophos will invest in a new network security training lab at the college. It will also help establish the program’s direction, provide technical curriculum development and offer training assistance.

“Willis College is extremely excited about the new Sophos partnership and the benefits that it will bring to the careers of our graduates and our community,” college president and CEO Rima Aristocrat said in a statement.

Sophos said it expects to grow quickly in Ottawa and plans to double its workforce here in the next six months as its customer base grows across North America.

The Ottawa office, on Laurier Avenue, will be its second facility in Canada. The company opened an office in Vancouver in 2003 and has had a sales office in Toronto since 2007.

This is not the first partnership of this kind for Willis College. It has been working with California-based network security firm Fortinet since 2009.