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UK government, SANS Institute announce Upskill in Cyber training programme for 2023

May 24, 20233 mins

Free training programme aims to help UK workers transition into cybersecurity jobs and address growing demand for cybersecurity professionals.

The UK’s Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT) and the SANS Institute have announced the second iteration of the Upskill in Cyber programme to help UK professionals make a career change into cybersecurity. The programme lasts 14 weeks and offers free training and advice to support UK workers looking to forge a cybersecurity career. First launched last year, the programme has trained over 200 students with non-cyber backgrounds, with many securing guaranteed job interviews upon successful completion of the training, according to SANS Institute.

Recent SANS Institute research found that while 44% of the UK workforce have considered a career change in the last year, just 6% have taken an interest in pursuing a career in cybersecurity. This is despite an ongoing UK cybersecurity talent shortage estimated at over 56,000, according to the latest (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study.

Earlier this month, Google announced a new entry-level cybersecurity certificate to teach learners how to identify common risks, threats, and vulnerabilities, as well as the techniques to mitigate them. Designed and taught by Google’s cybersecurity experts, the Google Cybersecurity Certificate aims to prepare learners for entry-level jobs in cybersecurity in less than six months with no prior experience required, create greater opportunities for people around the world, and help fill the growing number of open cyber roles,

Upskill in Cyber graduates achieve two security certifications

The Upskill in Cyber programme consists of two SANS cybersecurity training courses, SEC275: Foundations: Computers, Technology, and Security; and SEC401: Security Essentials: Network, Endpoint, and Cloud. Learners will be expected to commit 60-plus hours of study time to each course, as well as attending soft skills development sessions and employer engagements, the SANS Institute said.

To be eligible for the Upskill in Cyber programme, candidates must be aged 18 or over, UK nationals or have resided in the UK for the last three years, and not currently (or previously been) employed in a cybersecurity role. They must also not be currently pursuing or having achieved a professional cybersecurity related certification or currently pursuing or having achieved a cybersecurity related course at undergraduate level or beyond.

Upskill in Cyber graduates will achieve two certifications that demonstrate their practical capabilities and knowledge: GIAC Foundational Cyber Security Technologies (GFACT) and GIAC Security Essentials Certification (GSEC).

Programme opens cybersecurity to people from “all walks of life”

The UK is rapidly establishing itself as a world leader in cybersecurity, and ensuring people have the skills they need to access jobs in the industry is key to cementing and expanding that reputation, said Viscount Camrose, minister for science, innovation, and technology. “The Upskill in Cyber programme lets us do exactly that – removing knowledge and skills barriers for aspiring cybersecurity professionals and supporting them into the exciting new careers which fuel innovation, drive growth and protect our economy.”

Certain businesses lack the incident response and governance cybersecurity skills needed to face up to the realities of a challenging threat landscape, added Stephen Jones, managing director of the SANS Institute. “Individualised training equips candidates with both a solid theoretical foundation and hands-on practical skills, enabling them to tackle the most pressing security threats that organisations face today.”

Last year, 100% of programme candidates were provided with multiple opportunities to interact with hiring organisations, according to Ciaran Martin, director of CISO network at the SANS Institute. “The Upskill in Cyber programme opens up the dynamic world of cybersecurity to people from all walks of life. We are excited to witness the programme’s continued growth and success this year, as it unlocks new career opportunities in a diverse, dynamic, and forward-thinking industry brimming with potential.”

UK Editor

Michael Hill is the UK editor of CSO Online. He has spent the past five-plus years covering various aspects of the cybersecurity industry, with particular interest in the ever-evolving role of the human-related elements of information security. A keen storyteller with a passion for the publishing process, he enjoys working creatively to produce media that has the biggest possible impact on the audience.

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