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Fledgling Digital Skills Academy gets support from Cyber Security Challenge UK

Archive image of teams from Gibraltar during a CyberCenturion competition. Photo by Johnny Bugeja

A prominent non-profit cyber security organisation in the UK has voiced public support for Gibraltar’s new Digital Skills Academy, which launched in August and aims to tackle an IT skills gap on the Rock.

Cyber Security Challenge UK is the organisation behind the annual UK-wide CyberCenturion competition and is backed by leading public and private-sector organisations ranging from the National Crime Agency to major companies such as Northrop Grumman, BT and BAE Systems.

The Digital Skills Academy is led by Bayside physics teacher Stewart Harrison, who has taken local teams of youngsters through to the finals of the CyberCenturion competition every year since 2014.

Participation in the CyberCenturion programme will now continue through the Digital Skills Academy, which Cyber Security Challenge UK said was “…a fantastic reflection of how the Gibraltar cohort has evolved from just seven students taking part to a highly successful cyber security club.”

“We are delighted to be in a position to support Stewart’s hard work and dedication to launch the Digital Skills Academy in Gibraltar,” said Dr Robert Nowill, chairman of Cyber Security Challenge UK.

“We’ve been lucky enough to call the students who represent the up and coming talent on the Rock part of the Challenge community over the years and will always be especially proud of their success.”

“Stay tuned as we progress with plans to collaborate further to expand the portfolio of opportunities, activities and training courses available through this brand new online platform.”

The non-profit Digital Skills Academy will provide training for students from all backgrounds and age groups, helping them to learn digital skills that will improve their prospects of finding jobs and ensure they keep up with societal shifts to increased use of technology.

The academy aims to act as a bridge between education and industry to help establish a skilled workforce able to tap job opportunities in emerging tech sectors.

One key area of focus will be to provide alternative vocational and technical learning for students in full-time education.

Another will be to support public and private sector employees who need to learn new skills to keep up with changes in the delivery of service.

“It’s no secret that there’s a skills gap in technology,” Mr Harrison said.

“There are lots of tech companies in Gibraltar that all agree: from IT technicians to cyber security experts, roles exist, but the skills needed to fill them aren’t there.”

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