BT and Airbus create cyber security Masterclass competition in London

Cyber security experts from BT, Airbus, NCA, Bank of England, Cisco, McAfee, Checkpoint, De Montfort University’s Cyber Technology Institute and 4PumpCourt have today announced that they will stage the most advanced Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass ever, on the 12-14th November 2017 in London. Spanning two and a half days, Masterclass is the culmination of a year’s worth of nationwide face-to-face and online competitions, designed to unearth and nurture new talent for the cyber security industry and address a critical skills shortage that affects government, businesses and the public.

The competition, led by BT, in partnership with Airbus, will see dozens of the UK’s top cyber enthusiasts; face each other in a battle that will test their capabilities to deal with cyber-attacks and understanding of business know-how. The challenges will evaluate contestants’ technical, business, and soft skills, which mirror the different ways professionals, communicate today.

This year’s Masterclass will demonstrate how cyber security can be an accessible career choice that has a number of different facets and pathways. BT recently identified 87 different roles in the cyber security industry, each requiring a different skillset, which will be reflected in this year’s competition.

Highly experienced professionals from government, public and private organisations across the country will judge the contestants for a number of aptitudes that will rank their suitability for jobs in the sector. The best performing candidate will be crowned Cyber Security Challenge UK Champion. Thousands of pounds worth of career-enabling prizes will be issued to those who take in the finale including training courses, tech equipment and even a fully paid-for Master’s degree sponsorship at De Montfort University, allowing one lucky contestant the chance to study an MSc in Cyber Security.

Over the years, more than half of the contestants in the Challenge’s face-to-face and Masterclass competitions have moved on into jobs in the industry after demonstrating their skills in front of the industry assessors. Competitions like this are crucial for identifying top quality recruits that could reduce the skills deficit. Industry association (ISC)2 predicts the skills gap will reach 1.8 million unfilled positions by 2022, leaving a lack of professionals able to defend our infrastructure from hackers.

Nigel Harrison, acting CEO, Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “This year’s consortium of sponsors are working on taking Masterclass to the next level, adding new dimensions and levels of gameplay that we have yet to see in our competitions to date. We are always trying to match our challenges to the way industry is evolving and ensure that they test for the skills the industry requires, and we look forward to seeing how the finalists fare in a modern cyber security scenario.”

Rob Partridge, head of BT Cyber Academy said: “Filling the cyber security skills deficit is immensely important for the long-term safety of the UK’s digital economy. We need to make sure that industry and government are collaborating to make sure that young people are engaged and switched on to the breadth of roles in cyber security and the various career paths into them. These competitions are vitally important to unearthing hidden talent, and helping to develop the next generation of UK cyber talent to the standard we are seeing in many other countries.”

Kevin Jones, head of Cyber Security Architecture & Innovation, Airbus said: “In order to continue protecting UK infrastructure and businesses from both current and future cyber threats it is vital to address the skills shortage. Competitions such as the Cyber Challenge help provide a safe and representative environment for contestants to gain experience and learn from industry experts, which in turn will help them understand the variety of skills needed, and careers available, across the cyber security industry.”