New Cybersecurity Skills Initiative will train 5,000 professionals

3 Oct 2018

© bernardbodo/

A new initiative aims to provide IT professionals with the skills they need to become cybersecurity officers.

The increasing volume of cyberattacks is a growing area of importance across organisations. While many people and departments are aware of the problems, workplace skills development is needed to provide adequate protections as threats evolve and grow.

Skillnet Ireland and Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet today (3 October) launched the Cybersecurity Skills Initiative (CSI) to help people get up to speed.

Launched at the Cybersecurity Skills Conference at the Irish Management Institute in Dublin, the CSI is designed as a direct response to the growing number of threats organisations are experiencing.

The scheme will provide cross-skilling and upskilling opportunities for IT professionals across all sectors to a recognised standard. These new skills will allow them to act as cybersecurity officers for their organisations, ostensibly raising security standards across the country.

Training thousands across Ireland

The initiative includes a comprehensive plan to train 5,000 people in cybersecurity skills across 4,000 companies. There are five key objectives in the plan, which is dubbed ‘The Road To Excellence’:

  • the creation of a cybersecurity skills pathway
  • organic skills growth
  • cybersecurity as a business issue
  • attracting young people
  •  continuous professional development

Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Seán Kyne, TD, stated: “The rapid pace of growth in digitisation in every sector and all facets of society brings increasing levels and sophistication of cybercrime.

“For Ireland, which has established itself as an attractive location for digital business, this presents both a risk and an opportunity to take the lead as a centre of excellence in cybersecurity.”

Paul Healy, chief executive of Skillnet Ireland, said: “Given the ever-escalating number of cyber-threats and the serious risks these pose right across our economy, Skillnet Ireland understood the strategic significance of CSI and we were pleased to provide funding to Technology Ireland to develop the initiative.”

Responding to a growing need

Úna Fitzpatrick, director of Technology Ireland, said Irish companies need to upskill their existing workforces to respond to the growing need for greater security. “The shortage of skilled cybersecurity specialists has been well documented and, while people, processes and technology all are important components in establishing a robust security programme for any business, that first element – people – must lead the way to deliver an improved security position.”

Carmel Somers, talent manager at IBM and chair of the CSI, said the growing shortage of skilled personnel would be tackled by the comprehensive training plan created by the CSI.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects