Enabling cyber careers for neurodivergent individuals in the UK

Immersive Labs' NDCA initiative has helped an early cohort of participants find employment with IASME

Immersive Labs is claiming early success of its Neurodivergent Digital Cyber Academy (NDCA), an initiative funded by the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

The scheme recognises that, for neurodivergent individuals in the UK, finding employment can be challenging. Workplaces rarely cater for atypical thinkers, while those seeking work often don’t possess the basic skills required to take that crucial first step towards employment; this is demonstrated by the fact that just 16% of autistic adults are in full‐time work.

Through the NDCA, IASME – a cyber essentials accreditation body – has been able to find and nurture the talent of 13 neurodivergent individuals to employ in its own community Security Operations Centre (SOC) in Worcester.

I’ve been able to hone my skills by trying out a huge selection of labs, ranging from analysing malware to forensics and penetration testing. Blastoise186, NDCA user

IASME CEO, Dr Emma Philpott, who also runs the UK Cyber Security Forum, said: “Some of them had no cyber skills prior to using the platform. By completing labs – which they could do at home on their own terms – we could establish their strengths and place them in the business. Our new employees are full of ideas; it has energised the whole company. It’s the fact that it’s different people with unique ways of thinking.”

“I’ve been able to hone my skills by trying out a huge selection of labs, ranging from analysing malware to forensics and penetration testing,” said Matthew, aka Blastoise186, an NDCA user benefitting from the initiative.

Following the arrival of its new employees, more than half of IASME’s workforce is neurodiverse.

For more information on the NDCA or to get access to the platform, please visit: ndca.immersivelabs.online/register