Tackling the Cyber Skills Gap - XQ Cyber employs its first apprentice

In partnership with Gloucestershire College, XQ has taken on its first cybersecurity apprentice.

With the UK facing a shortfall of 100,000 cybersecurity professionals and a predicted global shortfall of 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs by 2021, XQ Cyber is delighted to announce that it is doing its part to help close the skills gap by taking on its first apprentice.

Starting his new role this week, Owen French will be working as part of the Cyber Consultancy team where he will attain hands-on experience of projects such as penetration testing and cyber posture assessments.

Working with XQ’s expert team of ‘ethical hackers’ Owen will learn what it takes to make it in the growing and fast-paced world of cybersecurity.

“I wanted to work at XQ cyber, as I believe it’s a sound and professional environment for me to develop my skills and interest in cyber security. I think it would be a more beneficial alternative to university due to the practical work experience and more direct training. XQ Cyber are an established business and it's exciting to be part of the cyber consultancy team,” said Owen.

Taking on an apprentice sees XQ play its part in helping close the much-publicised cyber skills gap. Although a relatively young business, XQ Cyber works hard to ensure the training and development of its staff both old and new.

Andy Rees, Head of Consulting at XQ, said: “We chose Owen due to his high motivation and enthusiasm to learn. We’re a rapidly growing business, and making sure we’re giving the opportunity for new talent in the industry to capitalise on this growth is essential to us. Cyber risk is an ever-evolving and growing threat, so being able to help nurture the future of cyber defence will always be a huge part of what we do here at XQ Cyber.”

A report released earlier this year titled: Cybersecurity Talent: The Big Gap in Cyber Protection revealed that 68% of organisations reported high demand for cyber-skills in the workforce, versus 61% demanding innovation skills and 64% analytics skills. However, only 43% had “proficient skills already present in the organization” — a 25%-point gap between supply and demand.

The partnership with Gloucestershire College will see XQ taking on several apprentices over the coming months as part of an exciting apprenticeship programme designed to create the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and reduce the skills gap.

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