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Ex-youth footballers kick-start cyber careers

New programme aims to get fresh careers for former youth footballers in cyber security

Alex Scroxton


Published: 28 Jul 2022 16: 21

Cyber security training specialist Hack the Box and governance, risk and compliance (GRC) practice SureCloudare the type of to possess lent their support to a fresh programme made to help train and reskill former youth football stars for careers in cyber security.

The casual high-profile incident aside, the planet of cyber security and the planet of professional football might seem poles apart, but in accordance with a 2021 investigation by Sky News, at anybody time you can find between 10,000 and 12,000 children in English footballs youth development system, and only 0.5% of these will ever earn a living from playing professionally, and of these, a little 0.012% will continue to play an individual minute in a Premier League match.

So, with English football cutting a large number of teenagers loose each year, and an enormous talent shortage in the cyber security sector, sports consultancy Phoenix, Sport & Media Group (PSM), an upskilling specialist, spotted a chance to help train and develop security talent among former youth footballers, and contains developed and launched a fresh programme called Cyber Stars.

PSM enlisted numerous firms to aid in developing Cyber Stars besides SureCloud and Hack The Box which provided its HTB Academy service because the learning platform for the programme. Included in this were BlueScreenIT, a Plymouth-based cyber careers developer, and certification specialist CompTIA.

The initiative was made to exceed traditional cyber training and was carefully customised to greatly help the students take their first steps in to the often bewildering world of cyber security, with some courses covering offensive and defensive tactics and threat intelligence.

Beneath the programmes auspices, the inaugural cohort of footballers-turned-cyber pros graduated earlier in July in a ceremony hosted by Liverpool SOCCER TEAM.

At Hack The Box, we have been committed to develop a safer cyber world by making cyber security training accessible to everyone, said Hack The Box founder and CEO Haris Pylarinos. Everyone can join and begin learning and practising cyber security, from theory to action.

Knowing that, Hack The Box supported PSM Cyber Stars Programme, providing cyber security training to a selected band of athletes ready to explore a fresh type of work and, therefore, supplying a pathway for they to a fresh career opportunity.

SureCloud vice-president Ben Jepson added: At SureCloud, helping another generation of cyber security professionals is a thing that we feel very passionate about. The shortage of cyber skills in the united kingdom cant do not delay – it really is on us being an industry to show how exciting and rewarding a lifetime career in the digital space could be.

PSM CEO Carly Barnes, an expert sports lawyer who comes from a background in British motorsport, said: We have been incredibly proud to possess successfully launched this program, and much more proud to start to see the initial students graduate at this type of well-renowned venue.

These new graduates are going to start brand-new career paths in the IT industry and we anticipate seeing how they progress because the months and years move ahead.

One of the primary graduates are Josh Sumner, a former Liverpool FC Academy player, and Ciaren Jones, who once captained Norwich Citys under-23 squad.

Sumner said he previously been devastated to possess had to leave Liverpool when he was 19 following a seven-year placement. Football was all I knew, he said. But Im now 28 yrs . old and I could safely say that the Cyber Stars Programme has set me on a fresh and exciting career path inside it and cyber security.

It had been always a thing that I was thinking about, but it has given me the chance to take the initial real-life step in to the sector.

Jones, who’s joining SureCloud as a consultant, said: I didnt be prepared to enjoy it just as much as I’ve done, as all I’ve ever known is football. I definitely went of my safe place but can see a fresh passion for cyber.

The support from SureCloud on the way has been amazing. Im now looking towards working my way up the ladder, learning more about regions of hacking that excite me, also to earn further qualifications. And Ill keep kicking a ball part-time, needless to say.

Looking ahead, Barnes said she hoped to increase the Cyber Stars initiative to other sports, including athletics, cricket and rugby, and is particularly hoping to provide focused courses for women and former Paralympians.

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