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Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced the contract for the delivery of a pilot online cyber security skills development platform has been awarded to Capita and Immersive Labs.

The unique platform will use gamification to meet skills objectives relevant to cyber security roles chosen by the candidate. Upon completion of training, users will then be offered access to relevant job vacancies as well as signposting them towards further training pathways.

Commenting on the signing the Minister said: “I am pleased to be able to announce a further milestone in this new pilot project with the signing of the contract by Capita. The project will help participants establish whether they have an aptitude for a role within cyber security by providing access to free online entry training and aptitude testing. The online platform, due to launch early June, will be available 24 hours a day, meaning users can decide to study at a time that suits them.”

The Minister continued: “Northern Ireland has a growing international reputation in cyber security and the industry has seen significant growth in recent years. Capita have teamed up with Immersive Labs to deliver this online skills development and access to job vacancies. We have been working closely with industry to promote the myriad of varied and rewarding careers within the cyber security area and we will ensure candidates who successfully complete training, can apply for the relevant vacancies advertised on the platform. In addition to training, candidates will also have access to a team of advisors, who can help guide them through the platform from start to finish, including signposting them to further career paths and training where required.”

Welcoming the award of the contract and the opportunity to work with the Department Mark Roberts, Head of Cyber, Capita Consulting added: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Northern Irish Executive and Immersive Labs on this project to grow Northern Ireland’s cyber skills base. We will leverage our experience of running world-class learning solutions and innovative marketing campaigns, in combination with our cyber security expertise, to help deliver this project which we hope will provide significant benefits to local people and the regional economy.”

Supporting the pilot, CEO of Immersive Labs, James Hadley, said, “It’s great to see the Northern Ireland Government taking such a proactive role in addressing the need for cyber skills. Our platform was built to allow a cross-section of people to develop the specialist skills necessary to protect organisations from the growing volume of attacks. This pilot puts Northern Ireland on a strong path to achieving this."

Applicants for the course must be resident in Northern Ireland, be over 16 years of age and have either essential skills or GCSEs in Maths and English.