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Capita & Immersive Labs support Northern Ireland to develop next generation of cyber security specialists

Date Published

29/04/2021

Reading time

3 mins read

Capita plc and Immersive Labs, a cyber security skills platform, are partnering with Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy on a pilot initiative to develop Northern Ireland’s next generation of cyber security specialists.

Ipsos Mori’s landmark 2021 report into cyber skills in the UK labour market revealed that 680,000 UK businesses have a basic cyber skills gap, highlighting the strong demand for employees with these skills.

The 12 month pilot programme, starting in June this year, aims to enrol 1,000 people and support 150 of them into cyber security jobs. The programme, which will be free for all Northern Ireland residents, will use Immersive Labs’ enterprise-grade development platform to enable participants to learn new skills and develop cyber security experience.

Capita will be supporting the pilot with its extensive expertise of developing and delivering training systems, as well as helping recruit candidates through marketing campaigns, which will launch in June. Candidates looking to join the pilot will need to be at least 16 years old, resident in Northern Ireland and have GCSEs in Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.

The training system will enable candidates to build their skills in a wide range of areas including malware analysis and cyber incident response. Following completion of the training, candidates will be supported to access new jobs in roles with significant demand, such as security architects and vulnerability analysts.

Diane Dodds, Economy Minister, 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.”

Mark Roberts, Head of Cyber at Capita Consulting, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Northern Ireland Executive and Immersive Labs on this project to grow Northern Ireland’s cyber skills base.

“We will leverage our experience of running world-class learning solutions and innovative marketing campaigns, in combination with our cybersecurity expertise, to help deliver this project, which we hope will provide significant benefits to local people and the regional economy.”

James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs, said: “It’s great to see the Northern Ireland Government taking such a proactive role in addressing the need for cyber skills, as well as opening up careers to as broad a range of people as possible. Large organisations are not just held back by a shortage of cyber talent, but also a lack of diverse approaches to problems which benefit from a wide range of opinions and backgrounds.”