News story

Cyber training programme up for national award

The NDA's cyber security training programme has been announced as a finalist in the Investors in People awards for its success in supporting apprentices.

Photograph of cyber apprentices

Since the NDA launched the cyber scheme in 2017, 22 apprentices and 6 graduates have been recruited

Image credit: Energus

Nominated for the Best Apprenticeship Programme award, the cyber scheme – run by Energus – enables talented young people to train and learn vital cyber security skills for careers in the nuclear industry.

Its nomination comes as the programme welcomed its third cohort of cyber apprentices and second cohort of graduates.

With the aim of increasing skills in the sector, the programme sees learners take up rotating placements in the NDA group, supply chain, local and national government and regulators.

The drive to increase cyber skills in the industry comes as part of a wider cyber resilience programme - aimed at ensuring the sector is sufficiently protected from current and future threats to national infrastructure.

Since the NDA launched the cyber scheme in 2017, 22 apprentices and 6 graduates have been recruited.

The scheme has opened a state-of-the-art cyber lab located at Energus in Cumbria in January 2018; providing the latest cyber training technology.

Dominique Betley-Makinson, 23, is a second year cyber security graduate. Her first placement was at Magnox and she is currently based at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), where she is helping to organise a training exercise.

Dominique said:

Time spent at Magnox has given me a good understanding of the nuclear sector. It’s helped me immensely in my work at BEIS - where I’ve been able to bring my insight on how the nuclear industry works at a site level.

You might think cyber graduates need to be good at the technical stuff, but that’s not always the case. In my role, here at BEIS, I’m involved in writing policies and procedures to make sure the right plans are in place to protect against cyber threats.

All of the apprentices and graduates have been recruited in partnership with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as part of a wider Government initiative to create a pipeline of talent.

David Peattie, the NDA’s CEO, is also co-chair of the Joint Cyber Security Oversight Group with Helen Shirley-Quirk, of BEIS. The group aims to build on the BEIS Cyber Security Strategy and its work across the nuclear sector, including decommissioning, power generation and nuclear new build.

David said:

We need a skilled workforce that is ready to meet the future demands of the UK’s nuclear industry and one of the crucial skills needs is in cyber security and resilience. Working alongside BEIS, we’re fully committed to supporting cyber apprentices and graduates in creating a pipeline of talent that will benefit multiple sectors.

In a bid to inspire the next generation, the NDA’s graduates also run a ‘CyberFirst summer school’ for students aged 13 to 17.

Frank Rainford, the NDA’s Security and Corporate Services Director, visited the facility to watch one of the sessions and was extremely impressed with the commitment shown by the students – even studying during the holidays.

Adrienne Easterbrook, of Energus, added:

Energus is proud to work as a strategic partner with the NDA, to support young people developing a career in cyber security – a rapidly growing sector.

Working with National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on CyberFirst is inspiring school children, as young as 13, to learn more about the industry.

All apprentices and graduates are using their skills, knowledge and behaviours to enthuse the next generation of cyber professionals.

We’re delighted to be shortlisted for an Investors in People award for the Best Apprenticeship Programme 2019. This is testament to the hard work of the apprentices and the programme team at Energus.

More information on cyber training at Energus

Published 5 November 2019