The Parliament’s Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, a cross-party group that works across both the Commons and Lords, published a report in July that exposed the UK’s chronic lack of digital skills, even within some of its own security agencies.

A summary to the report, read as follows: “During our ongoing inquiry into the cyber security of the UK’s critical national infrastructure (CNI), we heard that although the UK has one of the most vibrant digital economies in the world, there is not currently the cyber security skills base to match, with both the Government and private sector affected by the shortage in skills”.

The committee says it was “struck by the Government’s apparent lack of urgency in addressing the cyber security skills gap in relation to CNI”, and that it believes the government lacks the ability and understanding to address the gap between skills supply and demand.

New blood needed

Fixing the problem may prove to be quite a challenge. BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, says it was dismayed by this year’s GCSE results which showed a 16.6% fall in the number of students sitting a computing-related topic. When IT Pro spoke to BCS, a spokesperson told us that we “need a critical mass of new blood entering the profession to close that skills gap”.

BCS proposed fostering more “apprenticeships in cyber security, which as well as providing an extremely worthwhile career, are also well-paid, with salary expectations typically 15% above the industry standard”.

Major challenge ahead

The major problem facing the government is that this issue requires a long-term commitment, as “it’s probably a ten-year project to build up the skills base”.

While there’s a challenge in recruiting right now, it could get a lot worse if we don’t have a plan in place to ensure that people take up the kinds of subjects at school that will encourage them towards a career in cyber security.

Source: IT Pro