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Women Do Cyber 2024: Bridging the Gap with New Scholarships

‘Women Do Cyber’ forges ahead in its mission to reskill and upskill women with cyber security skills by announcing an additional 40 scholarships set to launch in May 2024.

This initiative is in its third year and further empowers women through mentorship support from established cyber and technology practitioners in collaboration with Cisco and Scotland Women in Technology (SWiT).

Since its inception, the programme has already paved the way for over 50 Women graduates, equipping them with essential skills and qualifications for a promising future in cyber security. They are now ready to take the next step in their cyber journey to embrace new employment opportunities, apprenticeships, and advanced learning in this dynamic field.

“It really has been a fantastic opportunity to learn something so valuable and in demand. To be supported in pivoting my career path away from the health industry to the IT security industry is a chance I never thought would come my way. GCU, SWiT and Cisco have made this a possibility.”

Amy, a participant on the 2023 programme

The partnership between Glasgow Caledonian University, Cisco, SWiT, and with the support of the Scottish Funding Council, presents a fast-track pathway to Graduate Apprenticeships in Cyber. The programme offers flexible, online study modules that introduce candidates to the core principles of cyber security. Participants will be armed with Cisco’s Cyber Ops Associate certification, validating their tactical acumen to address cyber threats effectively.

Scholars will be exempt from tuition fees for three pivotal modules alongside the Cisco accredited Cyber Ops Associate qualification. These modules not only impart academic credits but collectively provide entry to GCU’s Graduate Apprenticeship BSc (Hons) Cyber Security, facilitating further education alongside paid employment for those working in a cyber related role.

Accessibility to enrol in this programme comes from theability for women to work in their current day jobs whilst studying. Providing a route for employers to support women in their teams to reskill and upskill with in demand cyber security skills.  The training can also add value to other industries such as policing, sales, teaching, energy and finance. This programme builds the foundational skills to lead into technical positions such as a Cyber Analyst and Networking Engineers where women can inject diversity into technical teams to solve problems and protect and build digital networks. 

SWiT are dedicated to supporting women to access technology opportunities and careers. This is a real opportunity to bridge the known gender gap and reskill fantastic women across Scotland to help meet our need for cyber skills.

This fully funded offer is open to 40 women.The programme starts on the 14 May 2024. With a duration of approximately 9 months, the programme will finish in February 2025.

An urgent need for cyber security skills

Scotland’s Digital Economy Skills Action Plan reports the urgent and continued need for skilled cyber security professionals in a landscape where over 15,000 tech and cyber positions open annually in Scotland and only 3 in 10 businesses are fully equipped with cyber security skills.

Ketty Lawrence, Vice Chair for SWiT, says: “Scotland continues to face a significant shortage of cyber and technology skills, yet still only a quarter of the tech workforce is comprised of women. To tackle this issue, we need to encourage individuals from diverse backgrounds to develop cyber skills and pursue careers in this field. This will not only increase the number and variety of available skills, but also enhance the creativity, innovation, and productivity of the sector.

“The field of cyber security offers exciting, high-quality, and rewarding job opportunities across a range of industries and roles. It’s crucial that women have equal opportunity to develop the skills required to access and benefit from these careers in cyber.

“Through our partnership with GCU and Cisco, we have supported a wide range of women to kick start their cyber journey. It’s amazing to hear how the Women Do Cyber program has helped them grow both professionally and personally.

“Collaboration is key to creating a diverse and inclusive cyber and tech industry in Scotland. We are thrilled to continue our partnership with GCU and Cisco, and to play our part in achieving this goal.”

GCU’s academic team delivers this forward-thinking Cisco Networking Academy course. Participants will benefit from the supportive environment fostered by both SWiT and Cisco, connecting them to mentors and key industry figures.

Speaking about the programme, GCU’s Strategic Business Development Specialist, Andrew Campbell said, “At Glasgow Caledonian University, we are deeply committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workforce in every industry. The ‘Women Do Cyber’ programme is a testament to our dedication towards not only bridging the gender gap in cybersecurity but also in empowering women to achieve their full potential. By providing these opportunities, we’re not just educating; we’re building a community and fostering the cybersecurity leaders of tomorrow.”

A Co-Created Pathway to Success

This collaborative programme strategically combines academic growth with practical experience and support to meet the evolving needs of employers and the cyber industry at large.

Elizabeth Barr, Head of the Cisco Networking Academy UK & Ireland, said: “The cyber skills gap remains a pressing issue in the UK labour market, which is perpetuated by a continued underrepresentation of females in the cyber workforce. Women do Cyber is tackling these challenges head on through an innovative partnership that creates an inclusive space for women from diverse backgrounds to kick-start their career in cyber.”

Interest parties, including potential candidates and employers invested in utilising this programme for talent development, are invited to attend online information sessions scheduled for 20 and 26 March, see SWiT’s website for more information.

Application is now open until 1 May 2024. To apply for the  Women Do Cyber 2024 programme, and to get details on the programme’s modules and learning opportunities, please visit: GCU Cyber Security Scholarship.

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