Joining up training and immigration policy in time for the 2011 Cybersecurity Skills crisis

A crisis in the supply of cybersecurity skills looks set to peak next spring as players compete for staff to deliver what they have contracted for 2012. The financial services industry is increasingly recruiting from India because of problems with UK consultancies which have  gone for numbers rather than quality.  When those in the public sector and its supply chain start recruiting again, after the moratorium, they will find that many of those they hoped to hire will be working in the Middle and Far East, supervising the graduates of the Indian security courses. They will have lost their security clearances and accreditations, even if they are willing to take the pay cut. 


The “answer” is the rapid organisation of short order modular updating programmes for those already in post, including cross-training. On 2nd December the Information Society Alliance (EURIM) plans an event to announce “who” has already agreed to work with “who” to deliver what and for “who”. Yesterday and this morning I agreed strategy and tactics with some of those who will help with the planning, strategy and tactics to ensure we have something good to announce. Tomorrow and Thursday we start the recruitment process


Meanwhile there are growing fears that the UK Borders Agency is about to compound the problems – blocking the entry of skilled and experienced staff while leaving our borders wide open to fraudulent entry during the run-up to 2012. The current arguments about Caps and Numbers appear to miss the problem of basic administrative processes that are not fit for process.

The Alliance submission to the BIS consultations on Sustainable Skills recommended that: “The UK Borders Agencies should actively support reputable accreditation services routines to help enhance the UK position as a global leader in world-class education and training, welcoming those coming to “learn and return” while limiting and discouraging fraud and abuse on the part of those simply seeking to bypass immigration controls.”

I was subsequently sent a link to the 69 page list of “trusted sponsors” used by UKBA. Many of the listed education and training providers are reputable and well known. Others with similar names operate from back rooms over restaurants with no sign of any education or training facilities. Some of the latter do, however, have very impressive websites and paperwork.


Any list of trusted sponsors, whether as training organisations or as employers, should include a record of a physical visit, whether this was conducted by a reputable professional body, trade association, other government agency or by the UK Borders Agency. A sixteen page questionnaire and folder of forgeable paperwork is no substitute.