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Apprenticeships will attract youth into cybersecurity

by on28 January 2021

Taking skills shortage

Apprenticeships are the solution to attracting more young people into cybersecurity, according to 42.5 percent of respondents to a new Twitter poll run by Infosecurity Europe.

The poll set out to explore current issues around the skills shortage within the sector, particularly within the context of the pandemic.

Responses also highlight the importance of proper support for remote workers – with more than a third believing that sustaining motivation and wellbeing is the greatest skills-related challenge faced by cybersecurity professionals right now.

The information security sector continues to suffer from a shortage of skilled professionals, with more than three million unfilled roles worldwide, according to (ISC)2’s 2020 Cybersecurity Workforce Study. Despite this, 35.9 per cent of the respondents to Infosecurity Europe’s poll say their organisation currently has a hiring freeze on cybersecurity roles.

Maxine Holt, Senior Research Director at Omdia said: “After doing my BTEC in computer studies I got an apprenticeship, learning on the job while studying part-time for my degree,” she explains. “I also got to work in other parts of the business, which really helped me understand how they interacted with IT.”

CISO of Privacy Culture Steve Wright said: “We can definitely do more to open up apprenticeships or internships that encourage people to see if information security is for them,”, “but as a permanent measure we’ve got to look at what's going to attract people at the right age. I think more could be done to make it part of the school curriculum.”

Amar Singh, CEO/CISO of Cyber Management Alliance said that the younger engagement starts, the better.

“It helps to build national capability”, he said. “It’s a pipeline – you can't simply pick someone up and say ‘You’re now infosec’! That individual has to be trained and inspired from a young age. If they’re not, by the time they're 16 or 18 this becomes more difficult because they’re already established on another path.” 

Behind apprenticeships in the poll was the need for a formal career path (27.1 percent), more role models/mentors (17.1 percent) and greater diversity (13.4 percent).

Troy Hunt, Microsoft Regional Director and Founder of Have I Been Pwned, indicates the need for greater inclusiveness: “Technology in general is very male-dominated, and there’s a lot of women in particular feel excluded by that. There's also much more introverted behaviour, and – in my experience at least – obnoxious behaviour! We need to create an environment that people of all backgrounds want to be in; that removes any barriers making them reticent about being part of the industry.”

Last modified on 28 January 2021
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