The Swindon and Wiltshire Cyber Cluster (SWCC) eagerly anticipates the arrival of Unlock Cyber to the region on October 11th. This event promises an engaging afternoon of employer-led sessions, aimed at nurturing and empowering Key Stage 5 student (16 – 19 years) from across our region. Unlock Cyber seeks to create more local opportunities, enabling young people to establish their careers in Swindon and Wiltshire while addressing the evolving needs of local businesses.

SWCC, funded by the UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3), serves as a thriving hub for cybersecurity innovation and growth, uniting public, and private organisations. This collaborative initiative fosters partnerships, encourages knowledge exchange, and empowers thought leadership in the realm of cybersecurity. With a primary focus on Ecosystem development, Innovation join-up, and Cyber Skills Growth, SWCC actively supports the development of cyber skills, making careers in the cybersecurity industry more appealing and accessible.

In partnership with the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology, the Unlock Cyber event finds its ideal venue.

According to Darran Marks, Managing Director – Swindon and Wiltshire IOT, "The Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology (SWIoT) provides the perfect backdrop for this pivotal event and hosting UnlockCyber, on behalf of SWCC is a fantastic opportunity for the students of the region to access some of the finest cyber based employers locally and nationally.  It is undoubtedly an exciting time in the sector and SWIoT is excited to display our learning facilities and signpost the students of tomorrow towards their chosen career pathway."

Further enhancing its impact, this event is conducted in collaboration with the Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub.

Shona Taylor - Careers Hub Lead, notes, "For young people, engaging with employers directly, finding out about sectors and developing a wide understanding of the opportunities which are available to them both locally and nationally is key in helping them find their best next step. Introducing young people to employers from the cyber sector at the Cyber Unlock event, allows them to meet role models, be inspired about the future pathways, jobs, and careers, which are open to them.”

In these uncertain economic times, is cybersecurity the beacon of hope that future talent is waiting for? - Findings from a survey conducted by the SANS Institute reveal that over 60% of parents in the UK lack the knowledge to guide their children toward careers in cybersecurity. This knowledge gap is particularly concerning in light of the growing demand to fill the cybersecurity skills shortage, which has intensified since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. As organisation’s transition to remote work environments, the need for both secure business operations and staff cybersecurity awareness has never been greater.

Brea Woods, Project lead for the Swindon and Wiltshire Cyber Cluster, said “this is a prominent event for SWCC and it sits nicely alongside our flagship annual CyberICE conference which is all about Innovate, Collaborate and Educate. Building on successes in Bristol and Bath Unlock Cyber offers an opportunity to reach wider audiences across our region to access an innovative, ground-breaking event for young people. Enabling us to shape a secure digital future and build up cyber confidence for all involved."

Unlock Cyber, an employer-led initiative established by UWE Bristol, has taken on the challenge of bridging this knowledge gap. By uniting employers to deliver regional, employer-led cybersecurity events for schools and colleges, Unlock Cyber aims to educate and inspire the next generation.

The Unlock Cyber Careers event, scheduled for October 11th at the Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology, offers sessions led by leading regional employers. These sessions explore a wide range of cybersecurity roles, offer guidance on developing and showcasing knowledge and skills, and provide valuable insights into recruitment processes.

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore the diverse spectrum of roles within cybersecurity departments.
  • Learn how to effectively present themselves in job applications.
  • Prepare for entry into the job market.
  • Gain clarity on degree apprenticeships and programs while understanding the application process.
  • Gain insights into the daily routines of apprentices who rotate through various roles within a cybersecurity team.

The event features participation from prominent employers:

  1. UK Armed Forces
  2. BAE Systems
  3. Capgemini
  4. DSTL Ministry of Defence
  5. Immersive Labs
  6. Leonardo Cyber
  7. PwC
  8. Zurich Insurance

Elaine Brown, manager of the Unlock Cyber project, emphasized, "Young people often mistakenly believe that employers require extensive technical expertise. In reality, they seek individuals with inquisitive minds, problem-solving abilities, and the capacity to work under pressure. Our aim is to engage and excite more young people, particularly girls, who may perceive cybersecurity as inaccessible. We strive to make the field more diverse and inclusive."

For media inquiries about Unlock Cyber, please contact: Elaine Brown, Unlock Cyber Manager.

For more information on the Swindon & Wiltshire Cyber Cluster, please contact: Brea Woods, Project Manager.

 **"UWE has worked with NCSC and regional partners to develop the Unlock Cyber programme and have been recognised by NCSC for their excellence in cyber security education, across their outreach through Unlock Cyber, their taught programme at UWE, and their work across the regional and the wider UK to improve cyber security education."