With the UK currently experiencing a labour shortage in the cyber industry (Cyber security skills in the UK labour market 2023), C3IA Solutions Ltd are committed to encouraging young people to join the sector and developing their skills. In July, the company welcomed Alex, a Year 12 pupil at Poole Grammar School, for a week’s work experience placement where he was shown the many opportunities available to him within the cyber security industry.
Alex is studying computer science at A Level, among other subjects. His initial wish was to gain practical experience in computer science (including cyber security), but the programme provided by C3IA highlighted the breadth of cyber security, piquing Alex’s interest in areas he was previously unaware of and encouraging further study and research.
The programme guided Alex through Cyber Governance, Risk Management Methodologies, Technical Security Counter Measures, Vulnerability Assessments, Social Engineering, and Incident Response. Exposure to these areas of the cyber space gave Alex a glimpse of the diversity of the industry and provided a practical demonstration of cyber services in action.
Alex was keen to learn and listen, buoyed by the demonstrator’s examples bringing cyber security to life. Highlighting areas of the cyber industry, perhaps unknown to Year 12 students, sparked further interest and questions into new areas.
C3IA were able to draw upon members of the team who have progressed through secondary and tertiary education, giving an insight into the pathway from education to the cyber industry in worked examples. The personal experiences brought the descriptions to life, allowing Alex to place himself in the pathway and see how it might progress.
He was also aided by being able to engage with our technical services team, whilst learning that the cyber industry attracts a diverse range of professionals.
Alex engaged positively throughout the experience, being challenged and encouraged through his engagement with company members, their experiences, demonstrations, and knowledge.
C3IA’s experience programme helped to inform Alex on what his career progression could look like and what his next steps could be. He gained experience of what it might be like to be part of the industry; planning, delivering, and maintaining services across a breadth of areas, some known and some new. C3IA was happy to elaborate on areas that Alex expressed interest in or that required further explanation.
Each evening we asked Alex to carry out some background work for the following day or to strengthen that day’s learning. He carried it out willingly and would return with further questions the next day, allowing C3IA to customise sessions to suit areas of interest.
This approach was found to be beneficial for both parties, providing Alex the chance to expand his knowledge and challenging the company to enhance the work experience programme. Ultimately, this can only have improved Alex’s introduction to the world of cyber and C3IA’s ability to nurture interest in the sector to develop future talent.
Commenting on his time with the company, Alex said, “This work experience has ignited a spark in me”.
In summing up, C3IA’s Security Director wrote, “C3IA Solutions Ltd recognises the value of providing work experience to students as they are at a crucial stage of their career development. Our work experience programme provides insight across a wide range of cyber security areas and aims to inspire the next generation of cyber security professionals”.