Northern Powergrid Welcomes Response to Join New Cyber Apprenticeship Scheme
Almost 1,250 people applied for 23 apprentice roles as part of a bold new Government pilot scheme, which Northern Powergrid is part of, that aims to help protect the nation's critical national infrastructure from cyber threats and attacks.
The apprenticeships in Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) scheme aims to help develop tomorrow's online security professionals and tackle the risk of a future skills shortage.
The successful recruits will be employed in energy, water and transport companies which cyber criminals could target. Thirteen firms including Northern Powergrid, Network Rail and South East Water are taking part in the initiative - with Northern Powergrid set to take on its first two cyber apprentices in the coming months.
Northern Powergrid is one of the founding industry partners to support the scheme which is led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and part of the Government's National Cyber Security Programme. The electricity distributor is currently in the process of recruiting its two cyber apprentices. Once appointed they will receive around 60 days of specialist classroom and lab training alongside their on-the-job education working with Northern Powergrid's cyber security professionals. This will help them develop skills to become cyber security professionals in under two years.
Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, said: "As part of National Apprenticeship Week, our cyber security apprenticeships in Critical National Infrastructure scheme will take those with the right aptitude and thirst for new technology and place them in essential industries with tough on-the-job training.
"This is an important part of our National Cyber Security Programme and recent Digital Strategy to prepare Britain for the challenges it faces now and in the future.
"It's fantastic to see such a huge response to this scheme and I'm sure all the apprentices will help make these workplaces more productive, bring in fresh ideas and contribute from day one."
Russell Morris, Head of IT at Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network that delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, said: "Protecting our power network, customers and employees from cyber criminals is a key priority for us. We continue to invest in our IT systems and are ensuring our people receive education and support to help them be cyber smart.
"This apprenticeship programme is leading edge and we are proud to be part of it. It provides a fantastic career opportunity for the successful candidates and complements the work we are doing every day to protect the region's power network. The large number of applicants received centrally was reduced to five potential candidates for our two cyber apprenticeship vacancies. Interviews are currently underway and the two successful apprentices will start their training in May."
Training will include a three-day capture the flag cyber security workshop as well as topics including ethical hacking, network defence, malware analysis, cryptography, encryption and cyber security operations. This will be delivered by an external provider at sites across the country.
The apprentices will complete the new Cyber Security Technologist higher apprenticeship standard, which has been developed by Government working in partnership with industry. The scheme is for those aged 16 and over with a natural flair for problem solving and a passion for technology.
Cyber security is a fast-paced and fascinating industry with strong job prospects. Recent figures from the Tech Partnership show there are already 58,000 cyber security specialists in a growing sector worth £22bn a year to the economy.
The apprenticeships in Critical National Infrastructure scheme is one of a number of Government cyber skills initiatives to develop a strong supply of cyber security professionals alongside the its Cyber Schools Programme and Cyber Retraining Academy. The pilot will contribute to the Government's goal of delivering up to 1,000 cyber apprenticeships by 2021 across the UK. The figures have been released as part of Government's celebration of National Apprenticeship Week.
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