SASIG, the Security Awareness Special Interest Group, in partnership with the UK Cyber Security Council, has brought hundreds of future cybersecurity professionals alongside employers in the sector at the third SASIG Cybersecurity Skills Festival. The virtual festival showcased the challenges, opportunities and rewards available from a career in cybersecurity.
The DCMS, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, recently revealed that employment across the cybersecurity industry rose by 13% during 2021, with more than 6,000 new jobs created, opening new opportunities for people up and down the UK. The growth has seen the total number of people working in cyber in the UK rise to 52,700.
The SASIG Cybersecurity Skills Festival attracted more than 600 delegates and featured a day of presentations and workshops. The jobs fair ran alongside the main event and hosted 37 organisations from all sectors and 73 UK universities and public bodies. The day created 865 conversations and 4618 chat messages.
Delegates learned about building a successful career from both seasoned professionals and recent graduates. In addition, over 1,000 job applications were submitted at the job fair and helped fill vacancies being advertised by firms hungry to find new talent.
Martin Smith MBE, Founder and Chairman of SASIG, who began his cybersecurity career with the RAF in 1981, restated the skills festival’s objective was to boost the profile of cybersecurity as a rewarding career and attract new entrants. He explained: “Cybersecurity is a people business that is much more than technology. It embraces management, people and technical skills and as demand grows, there are huge opportunities.
“This year, we made a strategic move to reach out beyond our traditional cybersecurity community and seek to attract new entrants from all areas. Whether you’re a historian, musician or an engineer, there are opportunities at all levels and we want to help our community bridge the skills gap.”
Simon Hepburn, CEO of the UK Cyber Security Council, said: “Ensuring that we have as many highly skilled cyber professionals as possible is vital if the UK is to become one of the safest places to work and live online. To achieve on this ambition, we’ll need to plug the skills gaps across the sector, estimated to be a shortfall of 10,000 individuals. We were delighted to partner with SASIG on the Cyber Skills Festival to contribute a small way towards that goal and based on the number of job applications alone, it’s evident just how impactful the event was in raising awareness of cybersecurity as an attractive and rewarding career path.”
Laura Price, Employer Brand Specialist at BT, said: “With such a skills shortage in the cybersecurity industry, it’s a challenge to reach new and diverse pools of talent. The Cybersecurity Skills Festival has allowed BT to engage with hundreds of bright students and graduates interested in finding out more about our careers in Security- from across the UK and all at one event.”
The next Cybersecurity Skills Festival, which is free for both attendees and employers, will be held in October 2022. To find out more, please visit: www.thesasig.com/skills-festival/