Employer-backed Cyber Academy launches to boost UK’s information security skills

By : |August 29, 2013 0

ENGLAND, UK: As part of its National Skills Academy for IT, e-skills UK has launched the Cyber Academy. This employer-led programme of work will help the nation develop the cyber security skills it needs to manage future threats and stay at the forefront of this rapidly evolving and expanding field.

Through the Cyber Academy, employers, working in collaboration with education and government, will inspire young people to consider careers in cyber security; provide new entry routes for them into the sector; and improve access to relevant, high quality training.

Those involved range from the fast growing small companies in the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster* to large firms such as Atos, General Dynamics, IBM, John Lewis Partnership and National Grid, as well as organisations such as CREST and Cyber Security Challenge.

The Cyber Academy’s work will include embedding cyber security-related content in the school and university curriculum; organising effective interaction between employers and school students; and creating the first ever nationally available degree-level apprenticeships in cyber security.

David Willetts, Science minister, said: “Businesses in all sectors are facing growing risks to their data, intellectual property and reputation because of cyber attacks.

“The Government is committed to improving cyber security which is why the recent Spending Review included a further £210 million investment in addition to the £650 million already dedicated to the National Cyber Security Programme. The Cyber Academy will help develop the expertise the nation needs to tackle this important issue, and keep the UK ahead in the global race. In particular, we are excited to see the development of cyber security apprenticeships.”

Karen Price OBE, CEO, e-skills UK, says: “Our research shows the cyber security workforce is an ageing one, with only 7 percent of professionals under the age of 29. For the UK to retain its innovative edge in this fast-moving field, we need to do more to bring new talent into the industry and continue to upskill existing staff. That’s exactly what the Cyber Academy aims to do.”

Employers large and small are supporting this work. Mike Gillespie, director, Advent IM, says: “As a small business in the cyber security field, we need talented individuals to help us both grow and innovate. As such, we’re delighted to be supporting the new strategy and believe that this national approach, which joins up education and industry, will have a significant impact in the coming years.”

Ben Farrell MBE, head of Operational Risk Management, John Lewis Partnership, says: “Like many businesses today, we’re acutely aware of the risks of cyber crime and are continually seeking to improve our teams’ skills in the field. This fresh approach will help us in a variety of ways – from recruiting new staff to ensuring our existing people are aware of the latest threats and technologies.”

This work is supported by co-investment from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

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