Data and securityCyber SecurityGovernment announces projects to boost diversity in cyber security

Government announces projects to boost diversity in cyber security

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.

Over £500,000 is to be invested in a series of new projects aimed boosting diversity in cyber security.

The investment, which the government has announced from the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF), will go towards four new projects that target women, BAME and neurodiverse candidates.

The fund was set up in 2018 to boost the total number of suitably skilled people pursuing careers in cyber security, much of which it hopes to achieve through improving diversity. Funding will enable organisations to develop and maintain projects that identify, train and place untapped talent from a range of backgrounds into cyber security roles quickly.

The four 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: 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.

Commenting on the launch of the latest round of funding, 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.”

Adam Philpott, EMEA president, McAfee added:“It’s positive to see the government’s next round of investment in the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund and the continued support for the programme since its launch in February last year. In the face of an existing skills gap and industry-wide issues around diversity, governments and companies need to come together, helping to build diversity into every single process, programme and initiative to counteract unconscious bias. Data suggests that most cyber security staff seek the same qualities in others that they see in themselves, which explains how the talent pool has become so homogenous. However, once aware of this, organisations can implement initiatives to promote greater diversity.

“The case for supporting diversity within the UK’s cyber security should be one championed by everyone, with clear benefits that range from boosting creativity to achieving greater financial success. Not only do diverse organisations have a wider bank of perspectives and expertise to draw on, but companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”

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