Digital sovereignty: 2 new training programmes for the skills and professions of the future

The University of Rennes will be working to train more than 10,000 people in cybersecurity and telecommunications networks through the CyberSkills4All (cybersecurity) and Intelligent, Secure, Sovereign and Sustainable Networks (5G) projects.
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On Friday 16 June, at the Viva Technologies trade show, as part of the French Prime Minister's support for the issue of digital sovereignty, 9 winners of the France 2030 "Skills and professions of the future" call for expressions of interest were unveiled by the Prime Minister.
The aim of this programme is to accelerate training for the professions of the future and to meet the needs of businesses and public institutions in terms of training, training engineering, initial and continuing training, and the attractiveness of training courses, to enable the acquisition of the skills required for the professions of the future. The 9 projects will be subsidised by the government to the tune of €71 million, providing a concrete illustration of the government's commitment to vocational training in the professions of the future (5G, AI, Cloud, Cybersecurity, digital greening, quantum) and to making these sectors more attractive.

In Brittany, the government is announcing the training of more than 10,000 people in the fields of cyber security and intelligent telecommunications networks, thanks to the CyberSkills4All project, led by the University of Rennes, and the RIS3 project, led by INSA Rennes, for a total government investment of almost 15 million euros.

CyberSkills4All

The CyberSkills4All project brings together 10 major players in training and cybersecurity around the Cyber Centre of Excellence, with the aim of developing a regional awareness-raising and training pathway, from Bac-3 to Bac+8.

While there are opportunities for all levels, from vocational baccalaureates to doctorates, and in a range of training areas (technical, commercial, legal, etc.), the cyber sector is already facing a labour shortage, with 37,000 additional jobs to be filled between now and 2025. To meet this challenge, CyberSkills4All is the most ambitious of the digital sovereignty training projects supported by France 2030. It will start in September 2023.

A massive investment

With a budget of €23m, 40% of which comes from the French government, the CyberSkills4all project aims to achieve the following objectives over 5 years:

  • raising awareness among 80,000 secondary school pupils
  • introducing 15,000 students to the subject (via minors available in all disciplines: science, health, law, economics, literature, etc.)
  • training 4,000 cybersecurity specialists, including around a thousand in continuing education.

To achieve this, 204 training repositories and 16,000 hours of programmes will be created and made available to training establishments in Brittany and throughout France.

A consortium of academics and companies

Starting in September 2023, the CyberSkills4all project is the most ambitious of the digital sovereignty training projects supported by France 2030. It is fully in line with the regional strategy for a "digital, secure and responsible economy" and has the support of the President of the Brittany region and the Rector of the Rennes education authority.

The University of Rennes has administrative and financial responsibility for the project, with support from the scientific and teaching manager, Éric Martin, a professor at the University of Southern Brittany.
The Cyber Centre of Excellence will chair the Strategic Orientation Board. With more than 25 academic members and 54 corporate members, the PEC will be able to bring together the partner players in the training field, gather information on needs and define the major skills challenges for the jobs of the future.
Rennes School of Business, ENSTA Bretagne and ENIB will work with the universities to complete the project teams responsible for producing these teaching resources. The CMQe Campus des métiers et des qualifications d'excellence en photonique, numérique et cybersécurité, together with the Groupement d'intérêt public de formation de l'académie de Rennes, will provide training for instructors at secondary schools and GRETA-CFAs. Continuing education will also benefit from the expertise of the Orange Campus and France Université Numérique. The project may involve other training providers and cybersecurity specialists from among its members and the companies involved (Orange, Sopra Steria, EDF, Cap Gemini, Thales).

RIS3 for Intelligent, Secure, Sovereign and Sustainable Networks

Supported by INSA Rennes, affiliated Grande École of the University of Rennes, the RIS3 project brings together a consortium of 7 engineering schools, the university, CentraleSupelec and the IRT b<>com. The aim is to maintain a very high level of expertise in the design of the networks of the future and disruptive communications techniques, in order to maintain a high level of know-how in France in this key sector.

Communications networks and digital infrastructures are the backbone of the digital transformation of our industry and society. As the medium for transmitting and processing information, digital infrastructures are present in all areas of industrial applications, from autonomous cars and intelligent cities to the entertainment sector, health, space, defence and energy management. In this respect, the telecommunications sector is a key area of national and European sovereignty.

However, the digital infrastructure sector faces a number of challenges:

  • There is insufficient capacity for initial training and apprenticeships,
  • Continuing training needs to be stepped up to enable adaptation to rapidly evolving technologies,
  • The training of high-level scientific and technical profiles must enable us to anticipate the design and deployment of the networks of the future, so as to ensure French sovereignty in a key area,
  • The deployment of these technologies in private networks (particularly in organisations of vital importance) will increase the need for trained professionals to maintain these networks in operational conditions,
  • The range of telecoms training courses on offer must become more visible if it is to have a significant impact on the sector, particularly by incorporating energy constraints as a design criterion. Communication networks and digital infrastructures can help to meet certain challenges linked to climate change, such as regulating road traffic, but they also need to examine the value chain in a context of digital sobriety.

With a budget of €5.8 million, RIS3 comprises 6 actions:

  • Action 1: Create a university research school to give greater visibility and structure to the range of courses on offer in telecommunications and digital infrastructures, and to train experts in the design of the networks of the future.
  • Actions 2, 3 and 4: Train students from Bac+3 to Bac+5 and apprentices in intelligent, secure, sovereign and sustainable networks, particularly in dual expertise (security, AI, data) and in the impact of digital infrastructures on sustainable development, particularly with regard to the life cycle of network elements.
  • Action 5: Train professionals in the development of new skills specific to 5G, encompassing issues of sustainability and security.
  • Action 6: Enhance the attractiveness of the sector by setting up initiatives aimed at secondary school students, attracting talent and highlighting examples of careers for women.

Anchored in Brittany, RIS3 draws on the region's dynamism in terms of telecoms companies covering the various layers and equipment that make up networks, as well as operators such as Orange and Bouygues Telecom. This industrial ecosystem is part of the region's long history as a key player in the telecommunications industry, and is therefore an important factor in the success of the project.
The project also relies on the teaching and research staff of the IETR, Institut d'électronique et des technologies du numérique and IRISA, Institut de recherche en informatique et systèmes aléatoires laboratories, which are internationally recognised for the excellence of their research in this field.