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Cyber skills development platform for NI

A pilot online cyber security skills development platform in Northern Ireland is being developed by Capita and Immersive Labs.

The platform will use gamification (something featured in the May 2021 print edition of Professional Security magazine) to bring on skills relevant to cyber security roles chosen by the candidate (Cyber Defence Incident Responder, Security Architect, Systems Security Analyst and Vulnerability Assessment Analyst). On completion of training, users will then be offered access to job vacancies and pointed towards further training.

The 12 month trial scheme, starting in June 2021, aims to enrol 1,000 and support 150 of them into cyber jobs.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “I am pleased to be able to announce a further milestone in this new pilot project with the signing of the contract by Capita. 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. 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 myriad of varied and rewarding careers within the cyber security area and we will ensure candidates who successfully complete training, can apply for the relevant vacancies advertised on the platform. In addition to training, candidates will also have access to a team of advisors, who can help guide them through the platform from start to finish, including signposting them to further career paths and training where required.”

To apply, you must be resident in Northern Ireland, be aged over 16 years and have either essential skills or GCSEs in Maths and English.


The £400,000 investment has been funded jointly by the National Cyber Security Programme and the NI Department for the Economy Innovation fund.


Jake Moore, Cybersecurity Specialist at the cyber firm ESET, said: “Training young people is extremely important to secure our future’s protection, especially in the face of a huge increase in cybercriminals. To encourage and advance the next generation of security professionals, gamifying essential skills is the perfect way to entice them: it is an extremely captivating and exciting strategy that has been proven to work well. It is also an important initiative to counteract the IT skills gap and increase cyber security education more broadly. Hopefully we will see more initiatives like this around the UK, enticing more people into helping protect the country’s infrastructure from inevitable cyberattacks.”


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