Government announces raft of funding to “help drive diversity in cyber security”

Four new projects across England to encourage more women, BAME and neuro-diverse candidates into a career in cyber security have been announced by the Government’s digital minister Margot James. The projects 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 CSIIF is to boost not only the total number, but also the diversity of those working in the UK’s cyber security industry. It will help organisations to develop and sustain projects that identify, train and place untapped talent from a range of backgrounds into cyber security roles on a swift footing.

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 people can have a dynamic and exciting career in a sector that sits at the very heart of our economy and is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

Diversity in Cyber Security

The first of the projects receiving funding is the ‘Crucial Academy: Diversity in Cyber Security’. This initiative is based in Brighton and looks to retrain veterans in cyber security, in particular focusing on women, neuro-diverse candidates and BAME individuals.

Neil Williams, CEO of Crucial Group, said: “We at the Crucial Academy are incredibly grateful for the support that the CSIIF provides. As veterans ourselves, we understand how programmes like this are invaluable in aiding the transition into civilian life. This support will help to facilitate our continued commitment to veterans, women, neuro-diverse individuals and the BAME communities.”

The second project is ‘QA: Cyber Software Academy for Women’. This project is running in London, Bristol and Manchester to 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.

Lisa Harrington, managing director of QA Learning, explained: “We are extremely excited to be awarded this crucial funding for our collaborative initiative with Women’s Tech Jobs, the QA Cyber Academy for Women. It will have an immediate impact on beginning to address the diversity issues within the cyber security sector and serve as an inspirational beacon to inspire the next generation of female ‘cyberists’.”

Placement into cyber careers

‘Bluescreen IT: HACKED’ is the third project being funded by central Government. This Plymouth-based initiative will scale up an already existing programme which identifies, trains and places individuals (including neuro-diverse candidates, those with special needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds) into a cyber security career.

Michael Dieroff, CEO of Bluescreen IT, commented: “Bluescreen IT is extremely proud to be chosen as one of the lead organisations to deliver real social impact through our Hacked Cyber Hub initiative. The project aims to build a network of UK community Security Operations hubs across the UK, which will engage and service the local community and businesses with cost-effective cyber security services. These hubs will increase the employment of IT professionals through cyber and digital apprenticeships, reducing the growing skills gap across all sectors.”

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

CEO Jennifer Arcuri from Hacker House stated: “Cyber skills play such a vital role in the development to the digital economy and its fantastic to see the UK Government making it such a priority. The Hacker House team members are thrilled to be included in the funding of this grant as this allows us the opportunity to continue to develop content that trains and enable candidates to retain the practical skills needed for roles within information security.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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