19 Apr 2021

Building British Cyber Skills – RPS Cyber Academy Case Study

Guest blog: David Marriott, UK Business Operations Manager, Raytheon Professional Services as part of our #Cyber2021 week

Current restrictions have made us realise how reliant we have become on technology and how exposed we are when it comes to security. By 2022, there is predicted to be a talent gap of 1.8 million cyber specialists. This can only be filled if employers embrace the concept of recruiting and training new or junior level skills from a wide variety of backgrounds.   

That is why we were so pleased this year to successfully recruit and develop a diverse cohort of cyber security specialists in Greater Manchester as part of the RPS Cyber Academy.  In partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, the programme is supporting more than 90 Greater Manchester and Lancashire residents with accessible routes into better quality digital employment.

Graduates of the RPS Cyber Academy have been recruited from a range of sectors including hospitality and tourism and, after a blended delivery programme that equated to 40 days of learning through our digital boot camp, are developed for entry into junior cyber security roles within employers that include Salford City Council and Morson Projects.

The key to the programme is in the fact that it is developed by own cyber security experts and in our ability to recruit and build cyber skills for people from all walks of life and backgrounds, providing them with university-level skills to prepare the delegates for the exciting tech challenges that the UK faces.  One such example is Georgia, who decided to apply to the RPS Cyber Academy when her career as a travel agent was halted by the impact that the coronavirus had on the sector.  She has since secured employment within the video analytics team at Amazon. 

The programme covers basic to intermediate information technology and networking, plus entry-level cyber security. This ensures delegates have a diverse knowledge and skill set to enter multiple areas of the digital sector.

Khoa had studied languages at college and university before turning his attention fully to IT, prompted by COVID-19 and the lack of travel opportunities. He joined the course already holding the CompTIA A+ certification (passed in July) and once he graduated, he accepted a level 4 cyber security technologist apprenticeship with a local office of a national employer.

The Cyber Academy is a great example of how full-time and part-time, flexible cyber training programmes can be useful to a range of different employers who are trying to recruit, train and develop individuals who want to pursue a career in the sector.

With initiatives like this, and continued funding from government to fund skills camps and make apprenticeships available to all age groups, we can go a long way to ensuring that digital employment opportunities are made available to all communities across the UK.

Dan Patefield

Dan Patefield

Programme Head, Cyber and National Security, techUK

Charlie Wyatt

Programme Assistant, techUK

Jill Broom

Programme Manager, Cyber Security & Central Government, techUK

Sam Wyatt

Sam Wyatt

Programme Manager, Defence and Cyber Security, techUK