IT skills

BAE Systems latest to join cyber security skills drive

Warwick Ashford

Aerospace and defence company BAE Systems is the latest organisation to announce that it is taking steps to help plug the UK cyber security skills gap.

According to the company, nearly half of its UK graduate recruits this year will go into its cyber security business, Detica.

BAE Systems said the recruitment figures reflect the UK’s growing need for cyber security and the cost of cyber crime to the country, estimated to be as much as £27bn a year by the National Audit Office.

In early June, the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) said that training the next generation of skilled cyber security engineers was vital to protect the UK’s critical infrastructure.

The IET also announced it had set up an alliance of IT industry organisations to establish a sponsorship scheme to encourage people to acquire the cyber security skills.

Detica managing director Martin Sutherland said the company’s growth reflects a huge demand for technologies which defend against cyber attack, combat fraud and manage data.

“We are recruiting IT, engineering, maths and physics graduates and offer an excellent training and development programme,” he said.

Bill Walker, security analyst and technical director at training firm QA, said there is a critical and growing need for companies to plug the cyber skills gap.

“Graduates are a great starting point, but longer term, organisations need to take big steps to attract and retain more women in the cyber security sector, in which they are currently hugely under-represented.

“This is a wise step by BAE, but will address only a fraction of the problem,” he said.

Walker said that even though QA’s cyber security training business has more than doubled in the past year, there is scope for further growth in this area if the UK is to be able to start closing the skills gap.

“A career in cyber security looks set to have a very robust future. Regardless of the tough economy, cyber security is going to grow and grow,” he said.

There is a critical and growing need for companies to plug the cyber skills gap

Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK, said the UK is home to a broad community of skilled people who just require that first opportunity to gain experience and become part of this industry.

“If we as a nation are to address our significant skills gap in cyber security, it is vital that we start to make it easier for people to take the first step on the career ladder,” she said.

Daman believes apprenticeships are a good way to do that.

On 15 June, Cyber Security Challenge UK is to host London’s first dedicated cyber security jobs fair in partnership with Microsoft.

Daman’s team is also set to deliver the first national cyber security schools programme, which includes a code-breaking challenge and is backed by government.


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