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Public sector urged to develop cyber workforce plans


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Government has urged public authorities to develop workforce plans to address a “capability gap” in their cyber security skills.

The measure is among those within the Initial National Cyber Security Skills Strategy, published by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) shortly before Christmas, and reflects an emphasis on the public sector “leading by example”.

It includes the building up of the public sector’s cyber capability as one of the core objectives, emphasising that organisations hold large quantities of sensitive data, need a skilled cadre of cyber security specialists and a broad capability.

In response, it says the Government is placing a focus on upskilling its employees, a key element of which is the development of the workforce plans. These should include the provision of apprenticeships, retraining and retention of talent.

The document includes a proposal for continuing to invest in the sector, although it does not specify any figures.

It also highlights a handful of relevant initiatives, including the Scottish Government’s Learning and Skills Action Plan, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Pathfinder training scheme, and the Ministry of Defence’s adoption of the Defence Cyber Aptitude Test.

Other significant elements of the strategy reflect the proposals in a consultation document published by DCMS last July. These include the creation of a UK Cyber Security Council to develop a framework of career pathways and qualifications; efforts to encourage the existing workforce, in public and private sectors, to retrain or upskill; encouraging the take-up of computer science in schools; developing a CyberFirst Bursary Scheme for higher education; and investing in extra-curricular activities to encourage young people into the cyber profession.

There will also be efforts to raise the general level of cyber hygiene through the introduction of a two-year T level course and further training initiatives.

Digital Minister Margot James (pictured) 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.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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