QA cyber security apprentice Stephanie Haynes has become the first woman in the UK to successfully complete the Cyber Security Technologist Level 4 apprenticeship programme.
Haynes gained a Distinction, the highest possible grade achieved by only one other learner so far.
Of the 238 learners currently on a QA cyber security apprenticeship, 39 (16%) are female, with new research from Cybersecurity Ventures predicting that women will represent more than 20 percent of the global cyber security workforce by the end of 2019.
“We’re delighted for Stephanie and we congratulate her on an amazing achievement,” said QA Apprenticeships Director Ben Pike.
“According to a new QA survey of 200 women working in the tech sector or in a digital role, 87% felt there needed to be more female role models in tech. QA is passionate about encouraging more women into tech roles and empowering this through apprenticeships. Pioneers like Stephanie are inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.”
Discussing her achievement, Haynes said: ”When I found out I was the first female cyber security apprenticeship achiever in the UK, it was a surprise, but I was also really happy to hear it. It’s exciting because I’m hoping that, with this result, I can help to inspire more women into a career in tech.
“I want them to know that you don’t always need a strong technical background before starting your career, or have a particular ‘personality type’ to fit into the industry. If you’re enthusiastic about your field of interest and love what you do, you will thrive!”
Haynes was recruited through a national campaign for cyber apprenticeships in line with a wider government cyber skills strategy.
During her time as an apprentice at HORIBA MIRA, an automotive engineering and development consultancy company based in Nuneaton (Warwickshire), Haynes has risen to the unique challenge of adapting and applying the general information security principles she’s learned on her apprenticeship to a vehicle product cyber security context.
“I chose to do the cyber security apprenticeship because it not only offers a comprehensive mix of theoretical and practical knowledge and training, but the opportunity to work within the industry and gain experience by applying those new skills in a real-world security environment,” explains Haynes.
Paul Wooderson, Cyber Security Principal Engineer and team leader at HORIBA MIRA, says that Haynes has become a highly valued member of the team.
“Her contribution continues to directly benefit the ongoing delivery and further development of our automotive cyber security services,” said Wooderson. “Apprenticeships have proven to be an effective additional means for us to develop the diverse teams of competent professionals that we will need to address the challenges of the future.”
Haynes plans to pursue a degree in cyber security to bolster her career and complete further professional certifications.
“To anybody considering an apprenticeship, I would strongly encourage you to go for it,” she said. “This combination of technical competence, soft skills and experience will make you a valuable and well-rounded asset to your workplace – not to mention it will look great on your CV!”