techUK backs gender diversity in cyber security initiative’s plans to expand UK reach
An innovative cross-sector initiative, designed to tackle the long-standing lack of gender diversity within cyber security, has announced plans for its successful 'Empowering Women to Lead Cyber Security' programme to be offered across the UK, with London and Southern England confirmed as the first of the new UK regions to be covered.
The initiative, delivered by leadership and coaching specialists Empowering You, was established last year in Scotland with the support of The Scottish Government alongside ScotlandIS and aims to develop a collaborative and powerful community of emerging female leaders in cyber security roles across the UK.
Following on from its initial success in Scotland, where the programme has brought together cyber security and information management/assurance professionals from a diverse range of organisations including central government, health bodies, financial services, energy, local government and tech providers, the organisers are now extending the reach of the initiative across the UK. techUK has announced its support for the initiative’s expansion, again reinforcing its long-standing advocacy of improved diversity and inclusion in the sector. The initial London & Southern England cohort will run from April – June, with further programmes for Northern England, Northern Ireland and Wales following in the Autumn, along with the continuation of the established Scottish programme.
The starting point and centre piece of the initiative is a series of three-month intensive leadership courses, consisting of a combination of group workshops and one-to-one coaching, for a cohort of 20-24 early-mid career cyber security professionals, selected via an open application process by a Programme Panel made up of leading cyber professionals from across government and industry. In addition to their own personal growth and development, the programme participants also tackle a number of “challenges” set by the programme panel, which are based on societal issues which cyber security can help to address. The teams then present the results of their group work to an audience of their peers and the wider cyber community.
A key element of the initiative is that all participant places are free of charge to ensure accessibility for as wide a range of organisations and individuals as possible, with funding for the Programme provided by its partners in government and the wider tech industry. Previous programmes have attracted the support of industry heavyweights including the likes of Adarma, Lloyds Banking Group, Morgan Stanley, NCC Group and Sopra Steria.
Commenting on their support for the 'Empowering…' Initiative, techUK’s Head of Programme, Cyber and National Security, Dan Patefield said:
“Initiatives like these are absolutely vital as the UK cyber sector works to build a more diverse workforce, supporting participants’ growth in their cyber careers. Recent DCMS research suggests that less than 20% of cyber roles are filled by women which, when we consider 50% of UK organisations have a cyber skills gap, is simply not good enough. Solving this challenge helps us bridge the gap and – as we know – more diverse teams make better decisions and drive better outcomes.”
Applications for the 'Empowering Women to Lead Cyber Security' London and Southern England cohort are open now and will close on the 11th of March.
You can find out more information, including details on how to apply, here.