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National Cyber Strategy devised to improve skills and build resilience

Ministers are promising to expand and enhance cyber skills across the board in a drive to promote UK technological leadership and build resilience in the face of growing threats.

The government’s new National Cyber Strategy calls for a “whole-of-society” approach from the classroom to industry to open up access to high-skill, high-priority jobs.

At the same time, the government has said it is increasing investment in the National Cyber Force, which represents the UK’s offensive capability to “counter, disrupt, degrade and contest” hostile actors seeking to harm the country’s interests.

Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay said a “core” aim is to strengthen the UK’s hand in technologies critical to cyber while reducing reliance on suppliers from countries under regimes that “do not share our values”.

He said the new strategy would “transform” the way Britain advances its national interests in cyberspace following the publication earlier this year of the Integrated Review on foreign policy, security and defence.

The new strategy will be supported by £2.6bn of investment previously announced in the spending review in October.

“It sets out a clear vision for building cyber expertise in all parts of the country, strengthening our offensive and defensive capabilities and ensuring the whole of society plays its part in the UK’s cyber future, and comes with record funding to match,” Barclay said.

The strategy follows the controversy over the government’s decision to allow the Chinese tech giant Huawei access to the UK 5G network, only to reverse this following pressure from the Trump administration in the United States.

Among the measures in the strategy are the creation of a 'cyber explorers' online training platform for use in the classroom and steps to improve the diversity in the cyber workforce through a new adult skills scheme.

In addition, a royal charter for the UK Cyber Security Council has been approved by the Queen, bringing the cyber workforce into line with other professional occupations such as engineering.

The government is supporting 107 innovators in the field to develop their businesses – the majority from outside London and the South East, with 45 per cent led by women and 52 per cent run by founders from black and minority ethnic groups.

The strategy also recognises the importance of the private sector through the creations of the new National Cyber Advisory Board, bringing together senior figures from the sector to support and inform the government’s approach.

It comes alongside the creation of a National Laboratory for Operational Technology Security, which brings government, industry and academia together to ensure the highest levels of cyber resilience.

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