FIGHTING CYBER CRIME
There has been a 50 per cent fall in the number of young UK residents entering IT careers in the past five years. This trend must be reversed from our sponsor
Cyberspace is undergoing a rapid evolution. The integrity of government and business IT systems has become paramount as we become more dependent on them. Meanwhile, cyber attacks on IT systems are becoming more frequent and ambitious.
Cyber crime hit the top of the political agenda last year when the government highlighted it as one of the major threats to the UK in its National Security Strategy. It has now committed an extra £650 million to combat that threat.
Political recognition is one of the first steps to tackling the growing threat posed by cyber criminals. But organisations are also ensuring that they have the right skills in the workforce to counter these increasingly complex attacks.
Detica — BAE Systems’ security business in the UK — employs 1,500 people and has an international client base. It is a developing marketplace. Recent research by Detica shows that 92 per cent of UK businesses consider cyber attackers a growing menace, and 82 per cent saw them as innovating more rapidly than their organisation’s ability to defend against them.
Like the other parts of BAE Systems, Detica requires numerically skilled, technically adept people to meet its clients’ needs. Detica recruits up to 200 graduates each year to work in specialist areas such as data analysis and software development. The minimum qualification is a 2:1 degree in a subject like engineering, physics, computer science or maths.
There is little doubt that such people are in short supply nationally. But there are extra requirements needed to succeed in the nascent field of cyber security. As cyber security becomes a mainstream business concern, cyber security professionals have to possess business acumen and the ability to communicate technical issues.
‘Cyber security is outgrowing its niche, to become an integral part of IT and business,’ says Henry Harrison, Technical Director of Detica. ‘Whereas in some sectors the technically minded might be able to remain in the back room, in cyber security it is important to have the communication skills to explain to senior business managers the cyber risks and how they relate to operational risk.’
Experts believe that the IT industry will create 78,000 jobs in the UK in the next four years. However, research from the government body e-Skills confirms a 50 per cent fall in young UK residents entering IT careers during the last five. This trend must be reversed.
There are further challenges to developing skills in cyber security. There is no established academic route to the vocation and no professional institution for the discipline yet in the UK. Formal IT security qualifications, such those given by the Sans Institute in the US, would remedy this.
Detica supports direct action to address the skills gap by participating in the UK Cyber Security Challenge, a series of competitions designed to raise awareness of possible careers in cyber security. The company also sponsors one of those competitions: the Digital Forensics Challenge.
This year, the Challenge attracted 4,000 entrants, and the Digital Forensics Challenge was won by Paul Laverack, a professional actor who has never been employed in the cyber security industry. Paul has won a place at the Detica Cyber Security Academy.
Why apprenticeships mater
Apprenticeships are vital to the future success of UK industry, and an integral part of BAE Systems’ Skills 2020 strategy. They can provide the right people with the right skills for our, and their, development.
The company has more than 1,000 young people on its apprenticeship programmes at any one time. They are based at 11 sites throughout the UK, working on some of the most sophisticated engineering programmes in the country, such as the Astute Class submarine (the Royal Navy’s largest and most powerful attack submarine) and the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
BAE Systems offers craft, technician and business apprenticeships to teach a variety of skills, including joinery, pipe work, steel work, as well as design engineering, combat systems engineering and test and commissioning.
The three-and-a-half year programmes offer recruits the opportunity to combine practical work experience and academic learning, with the prospect of a full time job upon completion. Advanced apprenticeships can also be continued to degree level and then professional engineer status.
‘I wasn’t born with a spanner in my hand, but my interest in engineering grew after I did work experience at BAE Systems’
Britain’s Skills Crisis | 5 February 2011 | www.spectator.co.uk
Britain’s Skills Crisis | 5 February 2011 | in association with BAE systems David Crawford, a third year apprentice with BAE Systems’ Maritime business, is already advancing his career having been named last year as Britain’s best young welder. David took the top spot in the final of ShipWeld 2010, the nationwide competition that aims to find the best trainee welder in the country.
Speaking about his win, David said: ‘This is my first time competing so I’m really pleased to have won. I’ve really enjoyed taking part as it’s given me the chance to put the skills I’ve learned throughout my apprenticeship into practice.’
Rachael Hoyle, 22, is currently studying for a Mechanical Engineering degree at Manchester Metropolitan University after completing an advanced apprenticeship in aerospace engineering. Rachael also works full time in the Structural Engineering department at BAE Systems.
Rachael is responsible for monitoring any stresses and their effects on the Typhoon aircraft during flight. This data is then used to look at ways to extend the airframe life. She says: ‘I wasn’t born with a spanner in my hand, but my interest in engineering grew after I did work experience at BAE Systems. What clinched the apprenticeship for me was the fact that I could go and begin a career, learning from people who are experts in their own right. I felt I could get involved in real work while continuing to learn.’
Rachael also applies her skills beyond her day job. On a recent aid project in Uganda, she helped build a community centre in a small village. At home, she has helped manufacture a special bath for stroke victims. Rachael also speaks at local schools and events, promoting both apprenticeships and female careers in engineering, in her spare time.
There are many people like David and Rachael throughout BAE Systems — and many more apprentices who have used their knowledge of the business, gained from the ground up, to achieve senior management positions. Apprenticeships not only provide that most precious of commodities — quality people — but also serve to inspire Britain’s next generation of skilled engineers and technicians.
From our sponsor
Equipping the forces
The Ministry of Defence spends approximately £13 billion every year to equip and support the UK’s Armed Forces for current and future operations. Against a concerted call from government for widespread efficiency savings under the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), many consider such spending on equipment and support to be simply unsustainable.
There is a pressing need to significantly reduce the costs of transporting, maintaining and repairing equipment, as well as of other services. However, the scale of savings demanded will be difficult to meet using traditional models of contractor logistical support, which are based on managing capital assets and their spares, rather than delivering a service.
New approaches to availability contracting are beginning to demonstrate advantages over more conventional logistical support.
‘Within BAE Systems we use the term “readiness and sustainment” to describe the provision of operational capability for the Armed Forces,’ says Ian Grant, HR Director of Shared Services at BAE Systems. ‘The concept is as much about people as it is about supporting and sustaining equipment to maintain defence capability.’
The emergence of this customerorientated model is transforming skills priorities across BAE Systems, breaking down traditional barriers between engineering and other disciplines.
‘The requirement to support defence and aerospace platforms is seeing our people increasingly working alongside our customers, embedded within joint teams and adapting to a radically different working environment,’ says Fraser Kennedy, HR Manager Defence Partnering.
‘Our resourcing framework allows us to respond to different customer needs and utilise our staff much more effectively. For example, in the future, careers in Defence could see a ‘zig zag’ career model whereby people spend part of their career in uniform, as well as periods of employment in industry, to maximize the transfer of skills, knowledge and experience.’
One such partnership is the ATTAC programme (Availability Transformation: Tornado Aircraft Contract), which aims to improve the availability of Tornado Aircraft for the RAF, while saving the MoD £510 million over 10 years. BAE Systems work at RAF Marham managing ‘depth’ support — whilst the RAF carry out day-to-day flight line maintenance — which sees industry taking on more of the roles traditionally held by men and women in uniform.
Like many of the UK’s high technology industries, BAE Systems continually works with customers, industry, government and academia to adopt a coherent strategy towards skills development. For example, the company works alongside the RAF to address common issues surrounding the future supply of people with science and technology skills.
Ian adds: ‘The collaboration with
BAE Systems is also member of the National Defence Industries Council ‘Skills Group’ — which represents the interests of industry in developing a framework to nurture and sustain key skills in the engineering and manufacturing sector — as well as sponsor of a pilot Defence Career Partnering Scheme. Industry is taking on more of the roles traditionally held by men and women in uniform.
the RAF has enabled us to double the number of schools our engineering roadshow can visit annually, meaning we can now engage with more than 30,000 young people each year about the benefits of an engineering career.’
www.spectator.co.uk | 5 February 2011 | Britain’s Skills Crisis in association with BAE systems | 5 February 2011 | britain’s skills crisis