Thanks go to Virgin Money (Gosforth) for hosting our latest event on 6 March. RTC North, working with CyberNorth invited along North East regional companies who were either running existing corporate STEM Ambassador (science, technology, engineering, and maths) programmes or were attending as individual STEM Ambassadors. 

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The aim of this well-attended event was to raise visibility of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) CyberFirst efforts to raise the profile of cyber security as a potential career choice for school children, and to encourage attendees to consider signing-up as an additional role of Cyber Ambassador within the STEM Ambassador structure.

The presentation began with Janine Marshall describing her team’s administrative role in the STEM Ambassadorship and why we were reaching out to existing generalist STEM Ambassadors.  This was to let them know that it wasn’t just cyber security experts who could make a difference by visiting schools in the capacity of a Cyber Ambassador. Attendees were informed that there was existing CyberFirst resources available via the existing STEM Ambassador online portal, to help with ideas that could be used to add value to the cyber message to the youngsters, and that there were technology alternatives to the usual programmer/developer career paths.

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Richard Hopkins, from IBM, gave examples of some of his own experience as a Cyber Ambassador,  describing how being a STEM Ambassador is a rewarding investment of time and inspiration for future cyber-related careers for the young ones.  

Nik Kelsey (Kings Priory School Assistant Principal, and with responsibilities for the education-side of CyberFirst in the Northeast) described a little more about how important it was for industry to engage with local schools and colleges, including sponsoring events and other interactions, in order to positively influence a potential future employee to stay in the Northeast, and not seek technology opportunities elsewhere.

Andrew Pounder from CyberNorth introduced himself and spoke a few words to the attendees, emphasising our organisation’s role in collaboration hub activities and supporting the region’s cyber security community, especially if there were any industry representatives that wanted further information about how they could help with the CyberFirst programme in any capacity.

It was then left to the RTC North team to lead the audience into what the next enrolment steps would be, for those interested in becoming a Cyber Ambassador.

Just like for CyberNorth’s previous related event in February, there was a good discussion period at the end, from all attendees, and the consensus was that this was a worthwhile endeavour to encourage professionals and cyber security-related companies to become more involved with helping to shape the quality and quantity of the resource pool for filling future cyber roles without having to seek candidates from outside of the Northeast region.

If this article has peaked your own and/or company’s interest to learn more about how STEM Ambassadorship could fulfil voluntary and organisational CSR objectives, please feel free to contact me directly, and I also have a link to CyberNorth’s February presentation slide-deck, sent upon request, if this would help the decision-making process:

Andrew Pounder: