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Cyber Security Challenge UK launches charitable foundation to boost accessibility and diversity in cyber realm

by Brian Sims

Cyber Security Challenge UK has launched a new charity, designated the Cyber Challenge Foundation, which aims to support accessibility and diversity in cyber security, with an emphasis on supporting those from a disadvantaged background.

Launched in memory of Cyber Security Challenge UK’s late CEO, Stephanie Daman, the Foundation aims to fulfil her vision of creating a support system for individuals across the UK who may be looking to learn cyber security, but don’t have the means to do so. The Foundation will provide grants towards the provision of education, training and mentoring in addition to hardship relief for individuals right across the country.

With a predicted shortfall of 1.8 million skilled cyber security workers by 2022, the industry is crying out for talented individuals to consider cyber security as a viable career path. Yet, here in the UK, there are still millions of adults who don’t have even the most basic of digital skills due to the absence of technology and Internet access, lack of education and insufficient funds.

Earlier this year, the Government’s Digital Skills Strategy Report highlighted that one-in-ten adults in the UK have never even used the Internet.

By providing better accessibility to the industry, the Cyber Challenge Foundation seeks to promote better diversity within the cyber security profession. According to industry association (ISC)2, only 11% of the UK’s cyber security workforce is female (with a 7% global average), while only 12% are from ethnic minorities.

According to a report published by Ipsos Mori, there are also clear correlations with geographical location and the likelihood of possessing digital skills.

Nigel Harrison, acting CEO at Cyber Security Challenge UK, explained: “At the Challenge, we’re continually working to encourage diversity throughout the cyber security industry. It was Stephanie’s vision to expand this work and provide real help to those who struggle to find support in the usual places. Diversity increases creativity, productivity and culture. At a time when the cyber security threat continues to grow, making this sector more accessible is a logical and much-needed step.”

Cyber Security Challenge UK will raise capital for the Foundation through corporate sponsorship, fundraising events and private donations. The first fundraising evening, which is being conducted in partnership with BT, takes place during the Challenge’s 2017 Masterclass competition on Monday 13 November.

*For more information about the charity, applications for grants and further detail on how to donate contact: foundation@cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk

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