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DCMS funding aims to increase diversity in cyber sector

A funding round has been announced as part of the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF) with aims of encouraging more diverse talent into the UK’s cyber security sector

Another round of funding has been made available through the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF), allowing training providers to apply for cash to help develop cyber training programmes.

Training providers can bid for up to £100,000 to work with employers and design training programmes with the aim of rapidly increasing both the amount and the diversity of people in the cyber security sector.

Cyber security minister Nigel Adams said: “The UK is a world leader in tackling cyber attacks, but we must make sure we continue to develop the talent we need to protect the public and businesses online.   

“This latest round of funding demonstrates our commitment to make sure the UK’s cyber security industry has a skilled and diverse workforce and, through our new Cyber Security Council, there are clear paths for those wishing to join the profession.”

For several decades there have been efforts made to address the lack of diversity in the technology industry, which many say cannot continue if organisations want to develop technologies which cater to everyone, fitting the needs of its audience.

With many experts claiming diverse security teams are important in developing better and more secure security strategies, aiming to develop mixed teams in the cyber sector is no new challenge.

In early 2019, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) provided £500,000 to initiatives aimed at providing skills and encouraging more women, as well as more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and neurodiverse talent into cyber careers. Some12 initiatives have already received funding and support to train more than 400 people to enter the cyber profession through CSIIF funds.

The government has also announced the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) will be responsible for delivering the UK’s new Cyber Security Council.

The government has been developing the new Cyber Security Council over the past year in an effort to form a strategy for seeking and recruiting cyber talent in the UK, as well as to make it easier to seek out a career in cyber security.

The IET will work with the Collaborative Alliance for Cybersecurity, a collective of other organisations relating to the cyber security profession, to develop the council further.

The alliance, which includes organisations such as the Royal Academy of Engineering, techUK, and BCS, will be led by IET to work alongside the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), to deliver the government’s National Cyber Security Skills Strategy.

Simon Edwards, director of governance and external engagement at the IET, said: “It’s fundamental that cyber security is seen as a nationally recognised and established profession with clear career pathways. 

“The IET, alongside an alliance of professional cyber security organisations, will bring together the credibility and knowledge across a wide range of disciplines to further strengthen the UK’s leadership position in cyber security innovation and resilience on the global stage.

“With cyber skills shortages already emerging at every level, we are committed to working with the government and the National Cyber Security Centre on delivering the rapid, yet capable, development of specialist cyber skills to meet the growing needs of the industry, and to manage risk and secure the next generation of talent.”

The CSIIF funding, as well as the development of the new Cyber Security Council, are part of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy, goals of which include further developing the sector’s skilled talent and encouraging continued growth in the industry.

The government has been continuously working on trying to make cyber security, as well as the technology sector more widely, more diverse, and fill growing skill gaps in the technology sector likely to be exacerbated by Brexit.

Applications for the most recent CSIIF round is open until September 27. 

Read more about diversity and cyber security

  • The UK government has awarded a grant for the establishment of a cyber academy to promote neurodiversity in the industry.
  • Women in cyber security are younger, have achieved higher levels of education and are assuming leadership roles at higher rates than men, a study shows.

Read more on Diversity in IT

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