The Government is ramping up its commitment to increasing diversity in the UK tech sector by opening a third round of funding through the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund, with training providers able to bid for up to £100,000 to design programmes which retrain a diverse range of individuals for a career in cyber security.
The move has received backing from technology trade association for TechUK, which has not always seen eye to eye with ministers, especially over Brexit.
It coincides with the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IETT) being appointed to lead the design and delivery of the new UK Cyber Security Council. The IETT, which won a competitive grant competition to secure its new status, will work alongside a wider alliance of cyber security professional organisations.
The UK Cyber Security Council will aim to coordinate the existing professional landscape, to make cyber security a well structured and easy to navigate profession which represents, supports and drives excellence going forward.
Cyber Security Minister Nigel Adams said: "The UK is a world leader in tackling cyber attacks but we must make sure we continue to develop the talent we need to protect the public and business online.
"This latest round of funding demonstrates our commitment to make sure the UK’s cyber security industry has a skilled and diverse workforce and, through our new Cyber Security Council, there are clear paths for those wishing to join the profession."
TechUK president Jacqueline de Rojas said that as businesses become ever more reliant on digital tools, the need for a skilled and professional cyber workforce in the UK has increased, even though the Government’s own National Cyber Security Skills Strategy found that more than half of all businesses and charities in the UK have a basic cyber security skills gap.
She added: "Increasing diversity in the sector is one way in which we can seek to plug the growing cyber skills gap, and that is why initiatives like the Immediate Impact Fund are so important.
"Coupled with the creation of a new Cyber Security Council that will create clearer pathways for people entering the sector, these announcements will go a long way to ensuring that we create and nurture our cyber professionals and continue making the UK the safest place to be online."