Immersive Labs has been awarded a grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to create a Neurodivergent Digital Cyber Academy to bridge the cyber skills gap.
Immersive Labs will create a specific Digital Cyber Academy (DCA) for neurodivergent individuals to help them upskill, develop knowledge and technical skills required for a cyber career.
Once users of the platform achieve certain badges, they can apply for jobs with corporate sponsors of the academy based on these demonstrable skills.
The DCA will host over 250 labs on its platform, challenging those from novice cyberists to expert.
Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Margot James, said: "Untapped talent in cybersecurity can be found anywhere but unless we look for it everywhere, we risk missing out.
“The Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund is a great example of Government working closely with industry, community groups and charities to boost diversity in the workplace.
“Diversity should be at the heart of what we do as we work to build a Britain which is fit for the future.”
Immersive Labs will work alongside the National Autistic Society and a Community Cyber Security Centre delivered by the UK Cyber Security Forum CIC to grant access using registration codes distributed to charities and schools.
This means that the platform could be accessed by anyone, regardless of location and how much experience they have.
Individuals can develop at home, at their own pace, with labs at their existing level of cyber knowledge/skills.
Emma Kearns from the National Autistic Society added: “The Immersive Labs training platform is already recognised as the state of the art in cybersecurity training.
“The creation of this new Digital Cyber Academy represents an amazing opportunity for neurodiverse people to be trained up in cybersecurity and helps to address the growing skills gap within that field,” said Dr Emma Philpott from the Cyber Security Forum.
“We are really excited to be working in partnership with Immersive Labs. It is inspiring to be working with an organisation committed to improving accessibility for autistic people with both talents and aptitude for cybersecurity to improve their skills and succeed in the industry,” said
James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs is excited to be working towards diversifying the industry: “Through the Cyber Skills Grant, and by working alongside organisations like the National Autistic Society, we really can work towards not only closing the skills gap, but bringing a more diverse talent pool to the industry.
"There are many incredibly talented individuals who are often looked over when it comes to employment within our field, and it is our responsibility to provide them with the starting platform they need.”
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