UK Launches Long-Awaited Cyber Skills Strategy

The UK government has launched a new cybersecurity skills strategy designed to reduce industry shortages, and a new independent body to help shape the future of the profession.

The Initial National Cyber Security Skills Strategy sets out not only to recruit more skilled professionals into the industry but also raise the awareness levels of the general workforce, improve education and training and ensure ensure the UK has a “well structured and easy-to-navigate” profession.

To that end, a new UK Cyber Security Council will receive £2.5m of public funding to help in its mission to “lay the structural foundations” of the profession.

It will appoint independent ambassadors to promote careers in cybersecurity; launch a refreshed CyberFirst brand in 2019; and commit to investing in projects to develop the next generation of talent.

At this stage there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of detail, although the strategy itself is currently in a “Call for Views” phase which ends on March 1, 2019.

Talal Rajab, head of cyber and national security at industry body techUK, urged members to submit their feedback.

“Only through collaboration between government, industry and academia will the cyber skills gap be bridged and initiatives like CyberFirst and the work around developing a Cyber Council are significant work streams which techUK and industry will continue to support,” he added.

“Skills are vital to the development of the UK cybersecurity sector and attracting skilled talent is a constant challenge for industry, making this wide-ranging strategy most useful as a starting point for renewed efforts from both government and industry.”

New government figures suggest that over half (57%) of all UK firms and charities have a “basic technical cybersecurity skills gap.” The global shortfall of skilled professionals now stands at nearly three million.

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