NW Cybersecurity Skills Report Published

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science has prepared a North West Cyber Security Skills Audit Report for 2022. This research initiative was commissioned to assess the landscape of the cybersecurity sector in the North West (NW) region and to pinpoint key skills gaps and challenges hindering its growth potential. Through a combination of interviews and surveys with various businesses and stakeholder organizations, the study aimed to uncover the region’s strengths that could attract companies seeking new cybersecurity hubs.

The findings revealed a burgeoning cyber-friendly ecosystem in the region, underscored by the presence of two established global cybersecurity operations with ambitious expansion plans. Additionally, the establishment of Atlantic Technological University, consolidating three institutes of technology with strong track records in supporting cybersecurity and industry, further bolstered the region’s appeal. Moreover, the proactive approach of local governments in driving new business growth away from traditional industries, exemplified by initiatives like Donegal Digital, showcased a commitment to fostering entrepreneurial activity and economic development.

A notable discovery from the research was the projected creation of 220 new cybersecurity jobs in the region over the next few years, marking an 88% increase in total cyber jobs. However, addressing the demand for cyber talent emerged as a critical need to fully leverage these opportunities. Providing educational and training support to cybersecurity professionals, graduates, and aspiring individuals was identified as crucial to supporting sector expansion and attracting new cybersecurity investments.

Furthermore, the study highlighted the recognition among non-cybersecurity companies of the imperative to enhance their cybersecurity maturity, signaling a need for government support in driving this initiative. Initiatives such as cyber awareness programs spanning different sectors and organizational levels were recommended to instill fundamental cybersecurity principles.

The report’s recommendations revolve around three central themes: fostering a culture of robust cybersecurity, showcasing the region’s assets to attract cybersecurity investments, and bolstering the supply of cybersecurity talent within the region. With clear indications from major cybersecurity players in the region to expand, the time is ripe for stakeholders to collaborate and facilitate the growth of the cybersecurity sector in the North West region.

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