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Northern Ireland pilots security training plan for 16-25s

Pilot scheme in Northern Ireland aims to widen access to cyber security careers

The Northern Ireland Department for Economy (DfE) has enlisted the support of Immersive Labs and Capita to pilot an initiative aimed at providing specialist, enterprise-grade cyber security training for 16 to 25 year-olds who may not otherwise have been able to afford it.

The scheme will initially aim to upskill 1,000 people and prepare them for roles in areas such as incident response, security and vulnerability analysis, and security architecture in large organisation, using Immersive Labs’ online training platform, which gamifies security training with browser-based tasks covering multiple aspects of the cyber world.

Candidates need to be at least 16, a resident of Northern Ireland, and have a maths or English GCSE or other essential skills. 

“I am pleased to be able to announce a further milestone in this new pilot project with the signing of the contract by Capita,” said Northern Ireland’s economy minister, Diane Dodds.

“The project will help participants establish whether they have an aptitude for a role within cyber security, by providing access to free online entry training and aptitude testing,” she said. “The online platform, due to launch early June, will be available 24 hours a day, meaning users can decide to study at a time that suits them.

“Northern Ireland has a growing international reputation in cyber security and the industry has seen significant growth in recent years. Capita have teamed up with Immersive Labs to deliver this online skills development and access to job vacancies.

“We have been working closely with industry to promote the many rewarding careers in the cyber security area and will ensure candidates who successfully complete training can apply for the relevant vacancies advertised on the platform,” said Dodds.

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As well as training, candidates will also have access to a team of advisors to guide them through the platform, including signposting them to further career paths and training where required.

“It’s great to see the Northern Ireland Government taking such a proactive role in addressing the need for cyber skills, as well as opening up careers to as broad a range of people as possible,” said James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs.

“Large organisations are not just held back by a shortage of cyber talent, but also a lack of diverse approaches to problems which benefit from a wide range of opinions and backgrounds.”

Mark Roberts, head of cyber at Capita Consulting, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Northern Irish Executive and Immersive Labs on this project to grow Northern Ireland’s cyber skills base.

“We will leverage our experience of running world-class learning solutions and innovative marketing campaigns, in combination with our cyber security expertise, to help deliver this project, which we hope will provide significant benefits to local people and the regional economy,” he said.

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