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Time to get engaged? — how industry can help develop the cyber skills of the future

The latest report looking at Scotland’s Digital Technologies 2019 states that the number of people needed to support Scotland’s tech industry has significantly increased, with more than 13,000 jobs available each year in Scotland. The demand for cyber security skills also continues to increase fast, and the Scottish Government, in partnership with Skills Development Scotland, are looking at how they can address this.

Chelsea Jarvie of CJ Cyber Ltd will be working over the next three months to better coordinate cyber security industry involvement in cyber education.

Chelsea, a former Head of Information Security herself, will take forward work on behalf of the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland, to create a plan of action to coordinate and prioritise industry and employer engagement in education. She will build on evidence from a baseline survey carried out during December that demonstrates a clear willingness among organisations to get involved in a number of ways, including by:

*   giving talks about cyber security careers
*   providing mentoring for students and teachers/lecturers
*   providing work placements, and
*   co-delivering cyber security learning and teaching for students.

Chelsea wants to consult organisations with a view to creating a joint plan of action for prioritised engagement in secondary schools. In the future such a plan will be expanded to include all parts of our education and lifelong learning system, including colleges, youth work, early years and primary schools.

As part of her engagement activity, Chelsea will raise organisations’ awareness of the range of engagement programmes and opportunities that already exist, and which they might be wish to sign up for, including SDS’s Marketplace and NCSC’s CyberFirst programme.

Chelsea is keen to talk to any organisation that employs people in cyber security roles, and that wishes to be involved in a future programme of targeted activity. She says:

“As an industry we want to do more to inspire the next generation and build a diverse cyber security talent pipeline, but our day to day work gets in the way. I want to speak to businesses of all sizes and sectors to show them the resources and support that is available to make it as easy as possible to engage with education. Talking about cyber security careers and inspiring learners is vital for ensuring we have the talent pool required to protect our businesses in the future.

Claire Gillespie, Digital Technologies Sector Skills Manager at Skills Development Scotland, says:

“It is great to be working with Chelsea as she has lots of cyber industry experience and can really convince employers of the benefits of working together to support skills.  Employers play such an important part in inspiring young people and their teachers about the vast opportunities in the cyber sector, and we hope even more will get involved with our joined up approach, as well as utilising some of the supporting tools such as marketplace which links employers with schools.”

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