A new project has been launched designed to help address the growing digital skills gap by offering Scottish veterans the opportunity to reskill.
The digital skills gap is a significant issue in Scotland and, according to the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience: Learning and Skills Action Plan 2018-20, the global cybersecurity workforce gap is expected to reach 1.8 million professionals by 2022.
Launched as part of Cyber Scotland Week, the project will be delivered in partnership with Skills Development Scotland (SDS), social enterprise SaluteMyJob, Abertay University, IBM and tech start up Skillzminer.
It will focus on providing cybersecurity training and will kick off with an eight-week penetration testing pilot course next month.
Participants will learn ethical hacking and penetration testing skills at Abertay, as well as through online study and job shadowing. It follows a preparatory ‘Introduction to Cyber’ course at the University last week, attended by 30 ex-military participants.
It is estimated there are 13,000 job opportunities available every year in Scotland’s digital technology sector, and that cybersecurity in particular is one of the fastest growing areas.
Claire Gillespie, Digital Technology sector manager for SDS said: “This pilot explores new and innovative ways of ensuring we can meet the demand for skilled workers. Military personnel bring a raft of relevant skills ideally suited to cyber roles, and our aim is to build a new pipeline of much needed talent for the tech sector.”
SDS’s support provides more specialist training to SaluteMyJob’s established and successful Cyber Skillsbuild programme, which is delivered in partnership with IBM and has reskilled more than 350 veterans to date.
Veterans Scotland and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) are also supporting the project.
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Course participant Richard Barratt, a former marine with 45 Commando in Arbroath said: “The support, guidance and advice SaluteMyJob has provided me in supporting my career transition into a cyber role has been excellent and testament to the team’s hard work and dedication.
“In addition, the opportunity and privilege of attending two of their courses has attracted the attention of several high profile organisations in my current search for a new role.”
SaluteMyJob Managing Director, Andrew Jackson said: “Service men and women have the knowledge, skills and experience to transition relatively easily into well paid jobs in cybersecurity. Most think cyber is deeply technical; in fact, generalist military training is ideally suited to roles as security consultants, incident and operations centre managers, as well as more specialist roles such as penetration testing.
“Alongside employer partners such as IBM, DXC, Stratia Cyber, Claranet, Quorum Cyber, Grant Thornton and others, we look forward to helping military people realign their military skills to the fast-growing world of cyber security.”
Dr Natalie Coull, Head of the Division of Cyber Security at Abertay University said: “Abertay is a Scottish leader in both cybersecurity education and widening access to higher education, so this partnership is an ideal fit for the University.
“The cyber industry is crying out for fresh talent every year and this course will help to address that gap, tapping into our internationally-renowned academic expertise here at Abertay.”