Today the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a National Cyber Security Skills Strategy, outlining its plans for bridging the UK skills shortfall in the cyber space. The strategy aims to address both the broader cyber security capability gap, enabling more people to join the sector and raising the skills of those in the sector now, and also ensure that organisations and their staff are equipped to manage their cyber risks effectively.
The strategy outlines a plan for refreshing the CyberFirst brand to bring existing initiatives together and offer a further coherence to government's offer around cyber skills. This includes a plan to appoint independent Ambassadors to help promote the attractiveness and viability of careers in cyber security for a broad range of individuals. The Government also commits to continuing to fund and support these initiatives going forward.
Further issues outlined within the strategy include:
- An independent UK Cyber Security Council: a new, independent UK Cyber Security Council will be charged with the development of a framework that speaks across the different specialisms, setting out a comprehensive alignment of career pathways, including the certifications and qualifications required within certain levels;
- Inspiring the current workforce to retrain or upskill: government will continue to support the development of a vibrant industry-led training ecosystem. This includes the continuation of the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF) in 2019/20 as well as exploring other ways of government helping to boost the cyber security retraining provision in the UK
- Schools: government will continue to support initiatives that seek to encourage the uptake of computer science GCSE and A-Level, including the potential expansion of NCSC Cyber Schools Hubs across England;
- Further and Higher Education: will continue to deliver a CyberFirst Bursary Scheme, continued support for new Centres for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security, and a refreshed approach to non-techncial roles;
- Extra-curricular: continue to invest in and support such extra-curricular activities to inspire young people of school age across the UK to be aware of and consider a career in cyber security, including £20million Cyber Discover programme; and
- Embedding basic cyber hygiene universally: introduction of a T Level in Digital and continued for initiatives such as the Institute for Coding and the Ada National College for Digital Skills, to provide courses and training at various levels, and the Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) which brings together organisations across all sectors to tackle the digital divide.
Digital Minister Margot James said:
“Making sure we have a skilled cyber security workforce now and for the future is not only central to our national security but is also fundamental to the UK becoming the world’s best digital economy. This strategy alongside the creation of an independent UK Cyber Security Council will be the next step in equipping our growing and vibrant cyber security sector with the expertise it needs for years to come.”
Ciaran Martin, CEO, NCSC said:
“With this strategy the Government demonstrates its ongoing commitment to creating a culture where cyber security can thrive. We look forward to supporting DCMS as they seek to improve the skills of existing workers and inspire the cyber defenders of the future.”
Talal Rajab, Head of Cyber and National Security, techUK said:
“techUK welcomes this strategy as an important step towards bridging the cyber security skills gap in the UK. Skills are vital to the development of the UK cyber security sector and attracting skilled talent is a constant challenge for industry, making this wide-ranging strategy most useful as a starting point for renewed efforts from both Government and industry.
As part of the strategy will be a ‘Call for Views’, techUK will be taking input from members. Only through collaboration between Government, industry and academia will the cyber skills gap be bridged and initiatives like CyberFirst and the work around developing a Cyber Council are significant workstreams which techUK and industry will continue to support.
techUK will be developing a response to the ‘Call for Views’ within the strategy and will be reaching out to members for their input in the new year. If you would like to be involved or have any queries, please do get in touch with the techUK Cyber team.
Anyone wishing to express their views on the strategy independently can do so here. The closing date for responses is midday on 1 March 2019.