Cyber apprentices are helping to fill the gaps in businesses’ online defences

Joining the fight against the hackers

Growing army of cyber apprentices are working to keep Scotland safe


Cybercrime is the faceless, in- sidious attack on a hugely valuable yet worryingly vulnerable resource – our data. Research by global consultants McKinsey this year says that even before the global

pandemic, “executive teams faced a challenging and dynamic envi- ronment as they sought to protect their institutions from cyberattack, without degrading their ability to innovate and extract value from technology investments”. And for any company – or

public sector organisation – that 30 | FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2021

is digitising its businesses and au- tomatising its operations without an effective cyber security strat- egy, the risks continue to multiply. Scotland’s national skills

agency, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) reports – through its technology skills and careers portal Digital World – some sober- ing statistics: cybercrime was the second most reported crime in the world last year, with a hack taking place every 39 seconds, and will cost in excess of £6 trillion by the end of 2021, with 43 per cent of cyber-attacks targeting small businesses. It’s less, says Claire Gillespie,

digital technology skills man- ager at SDS, a case of “if” you are hacked but “when”. Which is why the agency highlighted Cyber Se- curity Apprenticeships at Scottish Apprenticeship Week earlier this month, demonstrating how they offer one of the most effective ways of making sure companies and organisations are cyber ready. “We focused on cyber security because of the growing require-

ment in this area and because SMEs are becoming acutely aware of the importance of cyber resil- ience, with apprenticeships a cost- effective way to plug that skills gap for smaller companies,” she says.

For many, the hazards of cyber- crime have been highlighted with many staff now working from home but she adds that even pre-Covid there was a growing demand for young people with the appropriate skills. “However, we also need people

with blended skill sets, with experience in finance, data and healthcare, for example. So we and our partners in educa- tion and government have a big responsibility to develop cyber skills for people coming not only through schools, colleges and universities but also to upskill existing staff.” Tere is a real appetite from

employers regarding the diversity of their staff. “Tey recognise the value of people with different skills and from different back-

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44