Cybersecurity Workforce Gap Widens in UK, 50% of Businesses Struggling

Addressing the Growing Cybersecurity Challenge in the UK

The UK’s cybersecurity landscape is evolving rapidly, with the demand for skilled professionals reaching new heights. Recent reports highlight this pressing need. The “Cyber Security Skills in the UK Labour Market 2023” report, published by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, presents a comprehensive analysis of cybersecurity skills in the UK. According to this report, approximately 50% of UK businesses face a fundamental cybersecurity skills gap, while 33% confront an advanced one. The report also emphasises the growing demand for cybersecurity skills as businesses increasingly rely on digital technologies.

Furthermore, the UK Cyber Security Sectoral Analysis 2023 builds on previous analyses to offer an in-depth understanding of the UK’s cybersecurity industry. It underlines the dynamic and rapidly changing nature of the cybersecurity sector.

The Cyber Skills Report from The Institution of Analysts and Programmers corroborates these findings, emphasising that the skills gap is most pronounced in small businesses and specific sectors like the public sector and financial services. The report also highlights the shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the UK, estimating a shortfall of over 11,000 people.

BIT Training’s Strategic Role in Bridging the Skills Gap

Within this dynamic landscape, BIT Training is emerging as a key player, addressing the cybersecurity skills gap through its innovative and collaborative approach to apprenticeship programmes. In partnership with EC-Council, we are thrilled to introduce our new and enhanced Cyber Security Technician Level 3 and Cyber Security Technologist Level 4 apprenticeship programs. These programs serve as a bridge, catering to the evolving needs of the UK’s cybersecurity sector.

With the introduction of our innovative ‘Embed, Develop, Extend’ delivery model; apprentices spend the first half of their programme following a curriculum designed to fully embed the knowledge an apprentice requires to be successful in their role whilst gaining valuable workplace experience.  During the second half of their programme, they will focus on developing their skills, providing professionals who are knowledgeable in their field and have the practical skills to thrive as their careers progress.  Additional resources and experiences are integrated into the programme to extend an apprentice’s capability in the workplace.

BIT Training’s apprenticeship programs align closely with WorldSkills UK’s commitment to raising the standard of technical education and apprenticeships. Through our collaboration, we echo WorldSkills UK’s dedication to excellence and global best practices in skills development. Our programs, by focusing on cutting-edge cybersecurity training and internationally recognised certifications, contribute significantly to the national and global skills landscape championed by WorldSkills UK. This partnership underlines our shared goal of empowering the next generation of cybersecurity professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in a competitive global economy.

The Pioneering Partnership with EC-Council

One notable aspect of our approach is our partnership with the EC-Council. BIT Training has earned the distinction of becoming EC-Council’s first-ever Corporate Academic Partner. This partnership has yielded the Cyber Security Technician Level 3 and Cyber Security Technologist Level 4 apprenticeship programs, integrating EC-Council’s esteemed certifications into the curriculum.

At Level 3, our apprentices gain valuable insights and practical skills, complemented by certifications such as Network Defense Essentials (N|DE), Ethical Hacking Essentials (E|HE), and Certified Cybersecurity Technician (C|CT). These certifications enhance their employability and prepare them for various entry-level cybersecurity positions.

Level 4, however, elevates our apprentices to higher expertise. Including certifications like Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Cloud Security Engineer (C|CSE), and coveted Certified SOC Analyst (C|CSA) certification. This comprehensive approach ensures that our apprentices emerge from the program with a deep understanding of cybersecurity and the ability to strategise and respond effectively to cyber threats.

Benefits for Employers Engaging with BIT Training and EC-Council Apprenticeships

For employers within the cybersecurity sector, engagement with BIT Training’s apprenticeship programs in collaboration with EC-Council represents a strategic advantage. These programs produce apprentices with a strong foundational knowledge of cybersecurity principles and specialised skills through EC-Council’s globally recognised certifications. By hiring apprentices trained under this partnership, employers can onboard individuals who are not just theoretically proficient but also practically skilled in handling real-world cyber threats. This positions organisations to build resilient cybersecurity teams capable of adapting to the rapidly evolving cyber landscape. Employers also benefit from apprentices’ fresh perspectives and up-to-date techniques, ensuring that their cybersecurity strategies remain agile and forward-thinking.

As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, it’s essential to recognise the approach between BIT Training and EC-Council. We are not merely addressing the current cybersecurity skills gap; we are paving the way for a more secure digital future. In a world increasingly dependent on technology, the significance of practical education and hands-on training cannot be overstated. For aspiring cybersecurity professionals and forward-thinking employers, these programmes offer more than just education; they offer a pathway to a more secure digital landscape.

This article was featured on World Skills UK  .World Skills uses international best practices to raise standards in apprenticeships and technical education so more young people and employers succeed.