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CSIIF

Government strives to increase diversity in cyber security

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The third round of funding through the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF) has been launched by Cyber Security Minister Nigel Adams.

The Fund aims to increase the number and diversity of people entering the cyber security profession, with training providers able to bid for up to £100,000 to work with employers and design training programmes which retrain a diverse range of individuals for a career in cyber security.

Alongside this Adams has also announced that after a competitive grant competition, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has been appointed the lead organisation in charge of designing and delivering the new UK Cyber Security Council, alongside a wider alliance of cyber security professional organisations.

The UK Cyber Security Council will aim to coordinate the existing professional landscape, to make cyber security a well structured and easy to navigate profession which represents, supports and drives excellence going forward.

Cyber Security Minister Nigel Adams said: “The UK is a world leader in tackling cyber attacks but we must make sure we continue to develop the talent we need to protect the public and business online.

“This latest round of funding demonstrates our commitment to make sure the UK’s cyber security industry has a skilled and diverse workforce and, through our new Cyber Security Council, there are clear paths for those wishing to join the profession.”

Simon Edwards, IET Director of Governance and External Engagement, said: “It’s fundamental that cyber security is seen as a nationally recognised and established profession with clear career pathways. The IET, alongside an alliance of professional cyber security organisations, will bring together the credibility and knowledge across a wide range of disciplines to further strengthen the UK’s leadership position in cyber security innovation and resilience on the global stage. With cyber skills shortages already emerging at every level, we are committed to working with the Government and the National Cyber Security Centre on delivering the rapid, yet capable development of specialist cyber skills to meet the growing needs of the industry, manage risk and secure the next generation of talent.”

Jacqueline de Rojas, President, techUK said: “As businesses become ever more reliant on digital tools, the need for a skilled and professional cyber workforce in the UK has increased. Yet the Government’s National Cyber Security Skills Strategy found that more than half of all businesses and charities in the UK have a basic cyber security skills gap.

“Increasing diversity in the sector is one way in which we can seek to plug the growing cyber skills gap, and that is why initiatives like the Immediate Impact Fund are so important. Coupled with the creation of a new Cyber Security Council that will create clearer pathways for people entering the sector, these announcements will go a long way to ensuring that we create and nurture our cyber professionals and continue making the UK the safest place to be online.”

The deadline for applications to the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF) is the 27th September.

Twelve initiatives have already received support from CSIIF with more than 400 people benefitting from training opportunities.

UK begins cybersecurity diversity drive

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Four new projects across England to encourage more women, BAME, and neurodiverse candidates into a career in cyber security have been announced by Digital Minister Margot James.

They will each jointly benefit from a total investment of at least £500,000 as part of the next round of the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF).

The aim of the Fund is to boost not only the total number, but the diversity of those working in the UK’s cyber security industry. The government says the initiative will help organisations develop and sustain projects that identify, train and place untapped talent from a range of backgrounds into cyber security roles quickly.

The projects receiving funding are:

Crucial Academy: Diversity in Cyber Security – This initiative based in Brighton looks to retrain veterans in cyber security, in particular focusing on women, neurodiverse candidates and BAME individuals.

QA: Cyber Software Academy for Women – This project running in London, Bristol, and Manchester will train and place a cohort of women into cyber development job roles within industry. An additional cohort will also be trained in Birmingham as part of the West Midlands Combined Authority Skills Deal.

Blue Screen IT: HACKED – This Plymouth based initiative will scale up an already existing programme which identifies, trains, and places individuals, including neurodiverse candidates, those with special needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds into a cyber security career.

Hacker House Ltd: Hands on Hacking, Training and Employer Portal – This project based online will develop a portal allowing for an increased number of people to be trained and then engage with employers.

The CSIIF pilot was launched in February 2018 and was open to initiatives delivered in England. The Fund is one of a range of initiatives designed in support of the National Cyber Security Strategy’s aim of developing a sustainable supply of home-grown cyber security talent in the UK.

Digital Minister Margot James said: “Our cyber security industry is thriving but to support this growing success we need a skilled and diverse workforce to match. These latest projects show that whatever your background, ethnicity or sex, there are opportunities to join the cyber security profession. We want to demonstrate that you can have a dynamic and exciting career in a sector that sits at the heart of our economy, and is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”