At launch there will be 23 organisations and UTCs who will form the group alongside Fujitsu. Those involved will have the opportunity to sponsor their local UTC, meaning they can get to know the students personally, potentially offering them a job at the end of the tenure or offering further sponsorship to allow students to go onto Higher Education.
“In a world of connected devices, and increasingly AI and machine learning, the security landscape is seeing exponential growth with attack techniques and sectors changing at an alarming rate. In light of recent attacks it is especially important that we do more to help the next generation of students better understand the positive impact that cybersecurity knowledge can have on their lives and future careers,” said Rob Norris, Vice President of Enterprise and Cyber Security, Fujitsu. “As we fast progress towards a ‘digital first’ nation, we need to ensure we are investing at the very beginning of the digital journey and developing the right skills to support the future digital economy.”
As UTCs provide an alternative and innovative technical education for students in their final years of school, whilst working in partnership with leading national and local employers, the group says it will ensure teachers are also equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge – such as updates on the latest threats and solutions, as well as available job roles – to help students leave with the relevant and appropriate skills needed for today’s digital world.
Norris added: “All organisations – private and public – are pivotal in closing the cybersecurity skills gap, ensuring our children are fully equipped for facing future inevitabilities. As this is something Fujitsu really recognises, the group will look to empower UTC students and teachers to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding of the role that cybersecurity plays in today’s business and society, preparing them to start their career in a digital world.”
Mike Halliday, Business Relations Manager for UTC Reading, UTC Swindon, and UTC Heathrow, said: “With cyber threats becoming more prolific and hackers increasingly more creative and savvy in their approach to attacks and breaches, the people and skills available to protect organisations and society must respond. While UTCs are attracting more and more ‘academic’ students, our real strength is in offering a learning journey that allows students to experience a practical education that prepares them for the world of work. Historically students may not have considered entering a cybersecurity profession, often meaning they missed out on a career that they could be good at, and one in which they’d find purpose and fulfilment.”
“The UTC Cyber Group looks to connect industry to an untapped source of thinking in order to meet the current cybersecurity challenges. There will be a particular focus on supporting students who could provide real value to an organisation due to their natural technical skill and ability. UTCs have the advantage of focusing on technical skills development, and are a real alternative for those that wish to learn hands-on, which makes a cyber UTC the ideal environment to nurture and accelerate cyber talent with the support of our industry partners.”
As part of the commitment, the group will meet every quarter to agree the course content that will be delivered to cyber security students. Each organisation will commit a minimum of five days of teaching and training to UTCs annually over the next three years.