Minister for Digital Margot James

New strategy sets ambitions for a cyber security workforce fit for the future.

A new UK Cyber Security Council will help develop a skilled workforce for the future and give talented youngsters a clear career pathway in cyber security, Digital Minister Margot James announced today (21 Dec).

The move is part of an Initial Cyber Security Skills Strategy which sets out an ambitious approach to develop the right cyber security capability in the UK now and for the future.  


Up to £2.5 million of National Cyber Security Programme investment is being made available to design and deliver the new independent UK Council. Through the government’s modern Industrial Strategy it will ensure that the UK’s expanding sector is equipped with the expertise needed in the digital age.


The strategy sets out clear objectives to build the UK’s cyber security capability including:


  • Appointing independent Ambassadors to help promote the attractiveness and viability of a career in cyber security to a broader and more diverse range of individuals.

  • Launching the refreshed CyberFirst brand in 2019 which will bring greater coherence to the government’s offering on cyber security skills.

  • A commitment to continue investing in cyber security capability across all age groups to develop the next crop of cyber security professionals.


Minister for Digital Margot James said:


“Making sure we have a skilled cyber security workforce now and for the future is not only central to our national security but is also fundamental to the UK becoming the world’s best digital economy. This strategy alongside the creation of an independent UK Cyber Security Council will be the next step in equipping our growing and vibrant cyber security sector with the expertise it needs for years to come.”


The main objectives within the strategy are:


  • To ensure that there is a clear pathway for those who want to have a successful career in cyber security that can be navigated easily.

  • To ensure that the right education and training is in place so we can identify, train and place new untapped cyber security talent.

  • To ensure the UK’s workforce across all sectors have the skills they need to make informed decisions about cyber security risks and support a secure UK digital economy.

  • To ensure the UK remains a global leader in cyber security with access to the best talent, with a public sector that leads by example in developing cyber security capability.


NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin said:


“With this strategy the Government demonstrates its ongoing commitment to creating a culture where cyber security can thrive. We look forward to supporting DCMS as they seek to improve the skills of existing workers and inspire the cyber defenders of the future.”


Talal Rajab, Head of Cyber and National Security at techUK said:


“techUK welcomes this strategy as an important step towards bridging the cyber security skills gap in the UK. Skills are vital to the development of the UK cyber security 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.


“As part of the strategy will be a ‘Call for Views’, techUK will be taking input from members. 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 workstreams which techUK and industry will continue to support.”


Since the publication of the National Cyber Security Strategy in 2016, government has introduced a range of measures to boost the number and diversity of cyber security professionals in the UK.

Long term initiatives include Cyber Discovery, a £20 million programme which aims to inspire young people to consider a career in cyber security, while identifying and nurturing promising talent.


The CyberFirst initiatives are also continuing to be developed and we have launched the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF) to increase training in the UK and run the Cyber Security Postgraduate Bursaries Scheme to help boost numbers and diversity.

Those with an interest in shaping the final strategy can now take part in a ten week call for views. The aim is to set out a long term vision and programme of work that is sustainable beyond 2021.


The government has also published its response to the consultation held in summer 2018 on developing the cyber security profession in the UK. This includes launching a competition to offer up to £2.5 million funding from the National Cyber Security Programme to design and deliver a new, independent UK Cyber Security Council.


Two pieces of research have also been published - ‘Understanding the UK Cyber Security Skills Labour Market’ by Ipsos MORI, and ‘Identifying the Role of Further and Higher Education in Cyber Security Skills Development’ by the Centre for Strategy and Evaluation Services.

Anyone wishing to express their views on the strategy can do so here. The closing date for responses is midday on 1 March 2019. We will also be holding a number of engagement events in early 2019 - you can register your interest here.

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