Yesterday our Founder & CEO was proud to attend the launch of a new initiative run by Dr Emma Philpott, a leading cyber security expert in Worcestershire and the UK.
Dr Emma Philpott is part of the IASME Consortium, the UK Cyber Security Forum, the Wyche Innovation Centre, the Malvern Festival of Innovation and now the Community Cyber Security Centre, which has two elements to it. The first one is a training element which exists to train unemployed and neuro-diverse people in cyber security and workplace skills, and the second element is an affordable internet-protection service for vulnerable groups of people. She is also the founder of the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster.
The new training platform of the Community Cyber Security Centre which was launched yesterday exists to train those who are neuro-diverse in cyber security and equip them with workplace skills. Many autistic people have the most amazing skills in hacking and cyber security, but some lack the knowledge between “right and wrong” in terms of using them. For example, they may hack into the systems of the government or a large corporate company “because they can” rather than to cause any malice, and by teaching them to use their skills for good they can find jobs and employment that they are suited to. It is a win-win for both the employer and the employee.
Shockingly, only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time employment and this statistic has not changed over the last decade. Neuro-diverse skills are especially suited to cyber security, but until now there has been little support to develop these skills and consequently many neuro-diverse individuals are out of work.
The training offered by the Community Cyber Security Centre takes place at Worcester Guildhall, who have been very supportive in terms of facilities and rooms. Some of the training is delivered in a classroom/group environment but a “quiet” or “breakout” room is also available to allow students to have time out, time to themselves and regroup if they feel that they are getting too much sensory information to process.
As part of the training, which is delivered in collaboration with Immersive Labs, hands on course content is delivered by expert trainers. Workplace training and help with communication skills is included, visits are made to companies and organisations and students can take advantage of a personal mentor scheme.
Given how large the cyber security skills gap is in the UK this initiative is a brilliant one to help fill it with neuro-diverse adults who naturally fit into the industry. Sadly, like everything else it can only continue if funding can be found to keep it going past November 2018. Emma has been contacted by companies in other areas of the UK interested in the same kind of initiative, so there is interest in it on a national level. But for it to continue in Worcestershire from November 2018 onwards it needs to be funded, so if anyone reading this would like to contribute there is a crowdfunding link –
However, if you would like to contribute to developing an affordable way to provide internet protection for vulnerable groups, this is the link – https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/community-cyberprotection.
Alternatively, more information and how to contact Dr Emma Philpott to get involved visit this link – https://www.ukcybersecurityforum.com/community-soc.
We hope to report more on the progress of the Community Cyber Security Centre in the future.