Two graduates of the government's security boot-camp training initiative, dubbed the Cyber Retraining Academy, have found jobs in the industry, while many others are interviewing with some of the biggest organisations in the UK.
The free training was funded by the government's National Cyber Security Programme and provided by the SANS Institute. The aim of the programme was to produce more cyber security experts to help defend the UK from cyber-attacks.
The Cyber Retraining Academy course did not require applicants to have any prior cyber security experience. Instead, the scheme sought candidates with 'natural aptitude'.
Interested parties were asked to undertake a quiz online to determine their suitability and the government, along with SANS, narrowed this down to a shortlist of 55 amateurs who were asked to take part in the programme.
The course consisted of practical exercises in real-world scenarios, including how to respond to virus outbreaks, finding vulnerabilities in Internet of Things (IoT) devices, building secure business networks, and learning how to help organisations tackle the most common threats. It also included the study of the psychology of hackers.
The eight-week programme started on January 23 and concluded this week with a graduation ceremony in London. All of those who took part have passed the course. They will graduate with two separate Global Information Assurance Certifications (GIAC).
As part of the initiative, course graduates would be connected to industry, and UK cyber security employers could even track students' performance and progress using an online portal.
Of those who are graduating, two - one a former bartender and the other a military intelligence operator - have been offered roles at cyber security companies.
Others are now interviewing for, or have been offered jobs with, the likes of the National Crime Agency, JP Morgan, Fujitsu, Amazon, e2e, Huawei and the Department for International Development.
"The Cyber Retraining Academy is a key part of [the National Cyber Security Strategy and £1.9bn investment in cyber security over the next five years] and it's fantastic to see the first students graduate and begin to move into cyber security roles in industry," said minister of state for digital and culture Matt Hancock.
"They will bring a diverse range of skills and experiences from different walks of life to help the fight against cyber threats and attacks," he added.
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