Grant Thornton joins with Immersive Labs to increase cyber talent

Grant Thornton joins with Immersive Labs to increase cyber talent

Now that cybersecurity is such an important consideration for businesses, Grant Thornton's involvement in the Digital Cyber Academy is another step towards equipping future workforces with the skills they need

Top ten firm, Grant Thornton, has teamed up with cybersecurity start-up, Immersive Labs, to help further advance its Digital Cyber Academy.

The current programme, the Cyber 1000 initiative, aims to identify and develop 1000 cyber security practitioners by the end of 2020.

Grant Thornton have a strong cybersecurity offering, with a team of experts who can deliver a comprehensive suit of services and solutions to help businesses assess and manage cyber threats in areas such as payment security, cyber resilience and incident management, penetration testing, and data protection.

By sponsoring the Digital Cyber Academy, Grant Thornton are supporting this cause and showing they are serious about the how important these skills are among current and future workforces. No-one is safe from cyber attacks and every business should be taking it seriously.

The Digital Cyber Academy is a cloud-based security identification and upskilling platform which students around the world can use to develop their cybersecurity skills.

As a result, employers will be able to easily identify individuals who are skilled in cybersecurity and help to narrow the growing skills gap in the UK in this area.

The Digital Cyber Academy was founded in January 2017 by James Hadley. Hadley understood that many learning techniques used today, such as PowerPoint presentations, e-learning, and video learning, do not engage the majority of people.

Instead he came up with a learning platform where users are immersed in real-world exercises and gamification is used to motivate people.

Users are rewarded with points for every lab completed, which are then displayed on a leaderboard. The more labs that the user completes the higher up the leaderboard they progress and therefore the more tailored skill sets they gain, which they can then use to apply to carefully selected cyber jobs.

Immersive Labs is the platform’s operator. It is already sponsored by Deloitte and Bae Systems as Grant Thornton joins.

Its aim is to increase the number of people interested in cybersecurity by making the platform accessible and free-of-charge to further and higher education students, both part-time and full-time, from any learning institution.

There is an emphasis on the fact that anyone at any level can join the platform and begin building cybersecurity knowledge and practical skills. This means that students from a diverse range of backgrounds can also apply for the jobs on there, encouraging greater overall diversity in the industry.

The platform makes users’ academic and social backgrounds anonymous to remove unconscious bias from the initial stages of the recruitment process.

Justin Rix, partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “The growing threat of cyber crime and related security breaches is something that keeps many corporate and government leaders awake at night, as finding the right people to protect their organisations against current and future threats is proving a considerable challenge.

“With this partnership, we’re confident that more people from non-technical or computing backgrounds will test their potential and explore a career path in this fast-growing field.

“The ability to support and encourage people from a diverse range of backgrounds is something which we, as a firm, feel very strongly about and believe sits firmly at the heart of our purpose to shape a vibrant economy.

“Immersive Labs shares many of the values that Grant Thornton prides itself on when it comes to finding socially inclusive solutions to critical business issues, and we see this partnership as the start of an exciting journey which could see similar initiatives focused on other segments of the population which might not have considered this career choice or are looking to re-skill in order to remain competitive in today’s labour market.”

Hadley said: “We are incredibly excited to be partnering with Grant Thornton. The Immersive Labs Academies make learning about the intricacies of practical cybersecurity as un-daunting, dynamic and relevant as possible, whoever the end user is.

“Identifying hidden talent is key to increasing diversity and growing cyber teams at pace. It’s so encouraging to have a well-respected organisation like Grant Thornton get on board with our approach to plugging the cyber skills gap.”

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