Neurodivergent Academy launched to teach cyber skills

The new training platform will help neurodivergent individuals to develop and enhance their cyber skills and employability

Immersive Labs has been awarded a grant as part of the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to create a Neurodivergent Digital Cyber Academy, as part of the ongoing effort to bridge the cyber skills gap. Immersive Labs will create a specific Digital Cyber Academy (DCA) for neurodivergent individuals to help them upskill, and 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 cyber security 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. 

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. – James Hadley, CEO, Immersive Labs

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“The Immersive Labs training platform is already recognised as the state of the art in cyber security training. The creation of this new Digital Cyber Academy represents an amazing opportunity for neurodiverse people to be trained up in cyber security 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 cyber security to improve their skills and succeed in the industry,” added Emma Kearns from the National Autistic Society.

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.”

Neurodivergent individuals, not already employed in IT security, can access to the platform by first emailing the National Autistic Society or Cyber Security Forum with ‘Cyber’ as the subject line and include the following details: 

  • Full name of person to register
  • How you are neurodivergent and why you want to join the NDCA (Max 250 words) 
  • Are you currently employed? If so, do you work for a cyber company? 

Either party will then be in touch with the next steps.  

For more information and to get involved, please visit: https://www.ndca.immersivelabs.online/register

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