The Government has used National Apprenticeship Week to launch a number of new and tweaked training schemes it hopes will boost the number of young people in the UK taking up cybersecurity as a profession.
Chief among these is the addition of a new track to the long-established civil service fast track apprenticeship scheme which will add 50 places to the Tech Partnership initiative, with employers generating another 200.
This will train students to become “cyber intrusion analysts, monitoring and defending organisations from attack in security operations centres,” with the first vacancies being filled in autumn 2015, according to a Cabinet Office release.
Another 70-80 places will be available on the Civil Service Digital & Technology’ (DaT) Fast Stream.
Rounding out the plan is the addition of cybersecurity for further education courses in computing from September 2016, a greater emphasis on the subject in schools, and a requirement that universities develop cybersecurity for all undergraduate courses.
“The UK has a vibrant cyber security sector which we want to help grow. We need a supply of cyber security experts for the future so we are taking a series of further steps to attract the most gifted young people to this fast-moving area of technology,” said Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude.
The National Citizen Service (NCS) will also now promote cybersecurity for English and Northern Irish youngsters that pass through its programs.
The announcement ties together a range of initiatives into something that still looks small compared to the scale of the problem at hand.
According to the Government, the UK cybersecurity industry is currently worth £6 billion ($9 billion), employing 40,000 people with more growth in sight.
At the same time, the number of UK security firms (including startups) that cut it at an international level startups remains modest despite an uptick in the sector in recent times.
A recent index compiled in the US named only 11 security firms of all types among the top 500 in the world. This is based on reputation and recommendation rather than an object scale but the list isn’t far off the mark. The UK has a small computer security sector for its size.