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Improving awareness of cyber security and developing a deep pool of talents to tackle online and digital threats are the aims of a new action plan.

The Cyber Resilience Learning and Skills Action Plan includes key actions for education, business and the public sector to strengthen and further embed understanding of the need for cyber-security.

The National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board has worked with a range of partners including Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the Scottish Government and Education Scotland to produce the plan.

SDS Director of Industry and Enterprise Networks, Gordon McGuinness, said: “We welcome the launch of the Cyber Resilience Learning and Skills Action Plan and fully support raising the awareness of cyber resilience in our schools, workplaces and beyond.

“Cyber skills are a key focus for Skills Development Scotland. We launched our Cyber Skills Programme in 2017 which is an initiative encouraging school pupils to choose fighting cybercrime as a career choice.

“Through a series of collaborative events with industry, school pupils have been able to learn more about cyber security and the many exciting career opportunities that are available in this industry.”

Economic opportunities

Gordon joined Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown as he launched the plan during a visit to meet BT apprentices in Edinburgh as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

Mr Brown said: “This plan is a blueprint for the Scottish Government and all its partners across the public and private sectors to work together to enhance our wider understanding of cyber security.

“We want to see people across Scotland, whether in early years, school, college or the workplace, get greater opportunities to develop the skills needed to be safe and resilient in their online lives.

“The plan also sets out how we can ensure we have a strong pool of professionals able to secure our businesses, charities and public services against current and future threats, and who can develop innovative goods and services for the rest of the world.

“Supporting the development of these specialist skills will be vital to the success of other activity on cyber resilience as well as our forthcoming plan to help us to take advantage of the economic opportunities presented by our work on cyber security.”

Talent and ideas

The aims of the action plan are to:

  • Increase cyber resilience through awareness raising and engagement
  • Explicitly embed cyber resilience throughout education and lifelong learning system
  • Increase cyber resilience at work
  • Develop the cyber security workforce to ensure that skills supply meets demand and professionals can find rewarding employment in Scotland.

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland director, said: “As one of the biggest dedicated cyber security practices in the world we’re pleased to host the launch of this action plan which will help to bolster the cyber security profession in Scotland.

“We’re proud to be one of the first employers of cyber security apprentices in Scotland, with around 20 in Edinburgh, and more broadly we have 320 apprentices across Scotland.

“Apprentices are important to our business in providing new talent and fresh ideas. Last year we became the first-ever employer in Scotland to be awarded the highest possible marks in a review of our Modern Apprenticeship scheme by HM Inspectors.

“We’re supporting the development of digital skills for young people through our partnerships with Young Engineers and Science Clubs and Digital Xtra Fund, as well as the Barefoot Computing initiative to boost tech literacy. We urge young people to consider careers in the fast-growing cyber security sector.”

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