Building British Cyber Skills: RPS Cyber Academy

Current restrictions have made us realise how reliant we have become on technology and how exposed we are when it comes to security. By 2022, the predicted talent gap will be 1.8 million cyber specialists, which is “exacerbating the number of data breaches.” The top contributing factors to security incidents are “a lack of adequate training of non-technical employees” (31%) and “a lack of adequate cybersecurity staff (22%).” 1 These gaps can only be filled if employers embrace the concept of recruiting and training new or junior-level talent from a wide variety of backgrounds. 

That’s why Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) is so pleased to have successfully recruited and developed a diverse cohort of cyber security specialists in Greater Manchester as part of our RPS Cyber Academy retraining programme. In partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, this programme provided more than 90 Greater Manchester and Lancashire residents with accessible routes into high quality digital career paths.

The programme launched in March 2020, just as COVID-19 hit Europe. In response, our instructors rapidly developed training content and digital boot camps, adapting all in-person learning and optimising it for a digital environment. They used a blend of modalities to deliver virtual learning that equated to 40 days of classroom training.

Students of the RPS Cyber Academy had worked previously in a range of sectors from hospitality and tourism, to various IT roles. Graduates of the programme are working in junior level cyber security roles with employers like Amazon, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, Tameside Council, Salford City Council and Morson Projects.

The key to the programme is in our ability to attract candidates and build cyber skills for people from all ‘walks of life’ and backgrounds. The curriculum provides university-level skills to prepare the students for the exciting tech challenges that the UK faces, as it rises from the pandemic.  One such example is Georgia, who decided to apply to our academy when her career as a travel agent was halted by the coronavirus and the impact on that sector. She has since secured employment within the video analytics team at Amazon. 

The programme covers basic to intermediate information technology and networking, plus entry-level cyber security. This ensures delegates have a diverse knowledge and skill set to enter multiple areas of the digital technology sector. Graduates are ready-to-work in a variety of digital roles from IT networking to Pen Testing.

Khoa, another graduate, had studied languages in college before turning his attention fully to IT. His interest was also prompted by COVID-19 and the lack of opportunities. He joined the programme already holding the CompTIA A+ certification. Once he completed his Network+ exam and graduated, he was accepted onto a level 4 cyber security technologist apprenticeship with a local office of a national employer.

The RPS Cyber Academy is a great example of how full-time and part-time, flexible cyber training programmes are valuable to employers who are trying to recruit, train and develop individuals who want to fill roles in this sector.

With initiatives like this, and continued funding from the UK government for skills camps and apprenticeships that are available to all age groups, we can ensure digital employment opportunities are made available to all communities across the UK.

Reach Out to RPS

Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) is a global provider of managed learning solutions for commercial, government and military customers across 15 industries. We’re a recognized leader in the fields of learning, performance consulting and technology-enabled solutions by leading learning industry consultants including Nelson Hall, Emerald Works, Brandon Hall, Cybersecurity Breakthrough, Training Industry and Forbes Magazine. At the heart of our business is our emphasis on “Understanding First” and strong culture of collaboration. By focusing on our customers’ key careabouts, we deliver the outcomes that matter and build relationships that last.

Our cyber training experts can help you defend against today’s cyber threats. To learn more, Contact Us or visit our website at RPS.com.

Do you have lessons learned that you’d like to share? Start a conversation in the comments below or connect with us on LinkedIn, or at @RaytheonRPS using hashtags, #Cyber, #BuildingBritishCyber.

Footnote

1 Forbes. (June 2019) The Cybersecurity Skills Gap Won’t Be Solved in a Classroom. Retrieved from, https://www.forbes.com/sites/martenmickos/2019/06/19/the-cybersecurity-skills-gap-wont-be-solved-in-a-classroom/?sh=13bafa011c30.