Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF)


Section 2. Initiative Description
Should your application be successful, this section will form part of your Grant Agreement with DCMS.


2.1 Initiative title The Cyber Skills Equality and Diversity Gap: training in employment and employer engagement programme
2.2 Initiative description
No more than 400 words. This should include a clear description of the initiative that will be carried out using the funding and describe the initiative aims and objectives clearly. List the outputs, outcomes, impacts and benefits attributable to CSIIF funding.
The programme builds on two successful pilots: one targeting veterans and one targeting women. It will deliver four cohorts on the same model. Three cohorts of women and one open cohort. For the open cohort male and female candidates from neuro-diverse and BME backgrounds will be encouraged. The evidence from the first two programmes is that there is no shortage of candidates without previous experience or high-level STEM qualifications, who can be converted through this model into employed cyber security professionals. The key challenge is the education of employers. This is also the key to the programme becoming self-sustainable. The programme will replicate the two successful pilots’ recruitment and training programme. It will deliver 100 candidates into employment within 12 months of commission. We have already engaged with 15 employers and are placing people in 5 through the current programme. There are strong expressions of interest in employing more people. However, government funding will be used to significantly increase the pool of employers who understand the scheme and to build the same stakeholder network amongst employers that was built at pilot stage amongst candidates. In turn, the White Paper completed from the pilot, will be enhanced and built into a Green Paper with specific policy recommendations for the way in which this scheme can be taken to national scale incorporating initiatives based on the same principles but extending the idea to attracting young people into the industry from diverse backgrounds. This idea has developed out of this scheme and other PGI programmes and is known as the Cyber Cadets initiative.

The key finding of the pilot stage is that there is no shortage of candidates. We cannot know if they will complete successfully or not but we know that for a modest outlay, and use of existing networks, we can recruit generate 300 candidate applications for 24 places. This was also delivered in a very short period of time. Once the expanded programme has been delivered and the recruitment network solidified and extended, we believe that the cost of promotion and recruitment, because of the network we have created, can be absorbed as a cost of sale going forward and is therefore sustainable in this model without further funding beyond this bid.

The other stakeholder group that was meant to be created did not develop in the same way. This is because we only engaged with one employment agency rather than many. We will continue to work with Hawker Chase, the agency partners for the pilot, but we will focus time and resources on creating an employer network that will mirror the recruitment network. The additional spend will be pushed into these areas primarily. We will aim to deliver four overlapping cohorts of 25 candidates. Which means we need employers to take 100 people, aiming for 75% women. The focus of the additional resources from government in this programme will be on creating a sustainable employer eco system with agencies, larger companies, SMEs and trade associations. If we can build that architecture, then the programme becomes sustainable and can be rolled out to other training providers by government and in other formats such as the Cyber Cadets model.

The programme is based on a fast track to employment methodology:

1)         Identification of stakeholder network from which to source possible candidates.

2)         Recruitment of employers who needed capacity.

3)         Promotion of the programme through this network to generate applications.

4)         Online diagnostic process gauging the suitability of candidates for Cyber Security careers.

5)         Further Assessment and Interview leading to offer of employment by the partner companies as individuals ready for a career in Cyber Security.

6)         Followed by completion of a ten-week training programme and subsequent deployment as Information Security Specialists/Officers in Governance, Regulation and Compliance, SOC analysts and Penetration Testers.

The fast track methodology creates cohorts employed as Cyber Security professionals to be trained – funded by the employers – in the skills needed to perform key roles required. This has demonstrated that the perceived high barriers to entry in the industry are artificial.



1)         Expansion of stakeholder network of organisations who can identify candidates and help recruit them

2)         Extension and expansion of the Employers stakeholder network with substantial marketing and the employment of an expert to manage and develop this group

3)         Marketing, PR and recruitment process

4)         Employment and training programme

5)         Research report on the process building on the White Paper to create something like a Green Paper of specific proposals


Outcomes and Impacts

1)            A 75% female cohort of employed and accepted into a career as Cyber Professionals

2)            Two sustainable networks working closely together to extend and expand the number of cyber Security Professionals

3)            A step change in the delivery of professionals and a change in the terms of the debate on how the Cyber Gap should be filled


2.2.1 Please fill out this box if you are applying for funding from Pot 1
No more than 200 words. You must provide an evidence base that justifies sponsoring of a large and/or scaled-up initiative through CSIIF funding. This should include outcomes of previous pilot initiatives, evidence of employer commitment to the project, number of beneficiaries and present a clear requirement for government funding.


Please leave blank if not applicable

This programme is based on the evidence of two successful pilots, most importantly the evidence to date from the current programme for women. That project is currently on track; with over 300 women registered via the recruitment network. With a combination of CV review, telephone calls and an online assessment to identify approximately 70 suitable candidates from the pool and send invites to an assessment centre to be held on 7 and 8 November. The assessment centre will provide PGI an opportunity to further gauge candidate aptitude for both technical and assurance roles based upon the employers’ skills gaps and role requirements. It will also provide Hawker Chase the opportunity to provide the candidates insight into the cyber security industry, mentoring and guidance on interview techniques and outline expectations employers will have in shaping these roles and future career progression. The next phase will see those who have succeeded at the assessment centre being invited for employer interview and contract offers.


The initiative has engaged with employers through various means; notably a client briefing day that was well attended by 15 delegates representing multiple stakeholders. This briefing has helped trigger further client meetings whereby one client has committed to employing a near full cohort of between 16 and 20 candidates, and another three, possibly four clients, committing to employing 10 candidates between them. There will be a further marketing push to specific PGI and Hawker Chase customers to see if any further interest in employing another 10 candidates we can make available for the second cohort, should 40 candidates progress from the Assessment Centre. The further meetings have prompted both individual programme designs for employer skills and profile business needs, and also collaboration with the employers seeking to recruit on the second cohort to agree on a programme design that suits all needs. Presentations have been delivered providing intricate detail on the model and experience drawn from the previous ex-Forces’ programme in relation to environmental and learning needs or preferences.


Building on this work, government funding will allow us to develop the employers network to the same point at which the recruitment network currently functions. This will involve engaging:


1)    A wider range of employment agencies and head hunters in the process

2)    Targeting of 30 larger companies to explain the concept and engage them for these cohorts, building on the engagement with 15 companies already completed

3)    Engage through trade associations with SMEs to develop a cohort of single individuals earmarked for specific SMEs

There will be four cohorts delivered, with 25 candidates on each. 75% of the candidates will be women and the recruitment phase will extend and adapt to target people from neuro-diverse and BAME backgrounds with the aim of including 25% of the candidates from these groups.

2.3 Initiative fit with core criteria
No more than 600 words. Explain how the objectives of the initiative meet the CSIIF funding core criteria as set out within the Guidance for Applicants document.  
Core criteria 1

Provide clear evidence that initiatives are likely to identify, train and place candidates who have not been previously employed as cyber security professionals into cyber security employment that reflects the training and knowledge acquired through the initiative, within 12 months of initial funding.

(Evidence can include certifications awarded to candidates at end of training, organisation engagement with employers, work readiness of candidates).

Identify Describe how your initiative will identify candidates to take part in the scheme and who have a demonstrable intention of getting into the UK cyber security profession. The two pilots for this programme have recruited women and ex-forces personnel and helped them convert into Cyber Security professionals. The building of the recruitment stakeholder network replicated the network which existed for veterans and generated the applicants. The significantly enhanced spend on marketing, compared to the veterans’ programme, enabled by the support from DCMS, produced the candidate pool and gave the stakeholders the communications vehicles they need to reach potential applicants. The PR process attracted a wider group of employers beyond those already committed but could have attracted more. The selection process identified those most able to take the opportunity. The training programme and employment for the women’s cohort will now follow, 90% of the veteran’s cohort remain employed in cyber security.
TrainDescribe how these candidates will be trained and outline duration, accreditation and other relevant information. The model has been deployed in two sectors and proved successful. The presentation to employers of individuals with a tested aptitude who can be then employed, trained and made operational over a ten to twelve-week period, is perfectly suited to address issues of access and diversity. From the employers’ perspective the most difficult aspects of selection have been resolved – the candidates have the ability. The training provides them with the knowledge and the skills to either be deployed to raise revenue or to perform security functions in the organisation. Each training programme is tailored to the needs of the specific employer.
Place – Describe how your initiative will achieve the employment outcomes of getting individuals into cyber security within 12 months of initial funding.  

All candidates are employed at the beginning of training and deployed if they complete the training by the company that hired them.





Core criteria 2

Demonstrate a realistic prospect of becoming self sustainable within 12 months of initial funding. As and when government funding ceases, confidence would be needed to assure DCMS that the removal of funding from this initiative would not affect the continued viability of the applicant organisation.

The model being developed here is intrinsically self-sustaining because the main cost elements are met by the employers in the network. Once the main elements of the eco-system are established and the communications vehicles developed, the stakeholders will work directly with the employers to maintain and expand the numbers recruited. The recruitment network is in place based on the pilot programme. More development needs to be done with the employers’ network to reach sustainability. This grant would enable that to happen. The pilot is also identifying what additional support is needed to enable women to complete the training. Part of the on-going engagement with the employers is to identify internal funds in areas supporting diversity that could meet these additional costs going forward.
2.4. Equality and diversity
No more than 200 words. Describe how your initiative is inclusive and achieves the government’s equal opportunities and diversity aims. Are there any specific equality issues relating to this initiative and the proposed beneficiaries? What measures will you implement to accommodate these requirements?

The assessment process will give additional weighting to initiatives that focus on helping more women candidates. If applicable to initiative, provide a detailed plan for, and a commitment to, placing women (making up at least 50% of initiative cohort) into cyber security roles.

This project is designed to demonstrate to the market place that women are a core demographic for entry level Cyber Security practitioners. The pilot scheme has demonstrated that there is a strong recruitment pool of women who want to transfer into this space. The specific equality issues addressed in this project are about the blockers to women pursuing a career in Cyber Security. Some of these blockers reflect broader industry issues and the experience to date suggests more work needs to be done with employers.


The lack of effective entry points to the profession has inhibited the numbers of women applying but the image and culture of the industry has not helped. Employers tend to be sceptical about the value of university cyber security qualifications and look instead for practical experience and flexibility, but they need leading towards candidates from non-traditional backgrounds. There are many courses to help existing professionals fill skills gaps, but few effective new entrant courses and the response to the pilot programmes has demonstrated the extent to which this course is filling an important gap.


Building on the pilot, this programme will allocate 25% of the places this time to Neuro-diverse and BAME candidates. The research will map learning from the Women’s cohorts onto the experience of these cohorts.

Where applicable, show the percentage split for beneficiaries within the following categories that your initiative will be targeting.
75% Women
12.5% Neuro-diverse individuals
12.5% BAME
% Other, please specify:
2.5 Initiative additionality
No more than 150 words. Describe how this grant will allow you to implement the initiative and deliver value that you would otherwise not be able to.
This grant will fund the marketing and public relations work needed to recruit 100 candidates. This will be done through the existing women’s network. The grant will allow us to reach more diverse groups and to provide support they might need to complete the training. It will also allow us to build and extend the network of employers by funding a specialist consultant to develop a more extensive group of employers who can provide the places for the trainees. In addition to the networking/recruitment dimension, the grant will allow for second stage of the research project to run alongside each stage in the process and produce a substantial report at the end presenting a toolkit for how this can be done and assess the enablers and barriers for these demographics. This will be more in the form of a Green Paper, incorporating responses to the White Paper produced at the pilot stage and suggesting specific policy options that could be adopted to take the programme to a sustainable scale.
2.6 Initiative location Bristol
2.7 How many individuals will benefit from the initiative? 100
2.8 Of the total initiative beneficiaries (in Q2.7), how many will directly benefit from the DCMS funding of the initiative? 100



Section 3. Initiative Implementation, Delivery & Impact

Should your application be successful, this section will form part of your Grant Agreement with DCMS.


3.1 Initiative start date (dd/mm/yyyy) 01/12/2018
3.2 Initiative completion date (dd/mm/yyyy) 01/12/2019
3.3 Deliverables and milestones dates  

The project has the following deliverable elements:

1)    Stakeholder Network engagement

2)    Marketing/PR for recruitment and employer engagement

3)    Recruitment Process/Skills Assessment – online

4)    Skills Assessment – in person and interview

5)    Employment

6)    Training for Cohorts 1-3

7)    Deployment

8)    Research and Analysis

9)    Publication


No more than 300 words. Provide a brief description of the deliverables under the identify, train and place priorities, with clear milestone dates.
Highlight any dependencies that will allow each deliverable / milestone to be delivered.


If available, attach a one page project plan (e.g. Gantt chart or timeline plan on a page). This will be considered in the assessment phase.

Indicative Project Plan
Months 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Engagement with recruitment network                        
Extension of Employers network                        
Marketing and recruitment process                        
Cohort 1: Skills Assessment and point of employment                        
Cohort 1: Training Programme culminating in deployment                        
Cohort 2: Skills Assessment and point of employment                        
Cohort 2: Training Programme culminating in deployment                        
Cohort 3: Skills Assessment and point of employment                        
Cohort 3: Training Programme culminating in deployment                        
Research report on the process and follow-up on recommendations                        
Publication and promotion of findings                        
3.4 Capability and capacity to deliver the initiative
No more than 250 words. Provide evidence to demonstrate that:

– your organisation has previous experience in delivering initiatives of a similar scope and / or scale within cyber security;

– specialist expertise is in place, or will be recruited, to run and manage initiative activities and if applicable, indicate any certifications or qualifications held by your industry experts.

This project is part of a wider set of initiatives exploring different dimensions of diversity and access to training in cyber security. The overall project is being directed by Brian Lord, Managing Director, PGI Cyber. Brian brings 22 years of experience from GCHQ where he built, developed and managed complex operational delivery teams, including cyber skills. He has an internationally renowned reputation for commanding fast, effective and high impact delivery in very short timeframes under pressures of time and budget, within public sector governance oversight. He will work alongside Professor Brian Brivati the academic director of the Academy. Brian has over 25 years’ experience in managing course delivery and research projects. Brivati will oversee the research elements and manage the stakeholder engagement process. Michael Keen at PGI will oversee the delivery of the Assessment Process and the Training Delivery. Keen is Head of PGI Cyber Training. He manages comparable successful cyber skills transformation programmes and will ensure that the programme meets its milestones and keeps to budget. Training Coordinator, Jacqui Harrod, will be responsible for the management of the Cyber Academy; its logistics, staffing, facility administration and hospitality of students and visitors. Her background is formed of extensive events management and training coordination experience.


PGI Cyber Academy was established to deliver Cyber Security training and services. It has delivered across all levels of Cyber Security training and has an extensive team of trainers and practitioners. The methodology for this project has been tested in two demographics and proved successful. The project team have run multiple complex government funded projects in the past. In addition to the women’s and veteran’s programmes already described, PGI was commissioned by HMG to retrain a number of individuals from a non-Cyber background, working for a foreign government. A detailed case study of this project can be supplied on request.

3.5 Subcontract details (if applicable)
No more than 100 words. Provide details of any plans to subcontract (outside of the consortium, if applicable) any part of the initiative activities.
As indicated aspects of the engagement process with employers will be subcontracted to a specialist consultant tasked with building a network of employers. All other aspects of work will be delivered by the in-house team. PR support for the programme will be sourced from an existing supplier, Lansons, to raise the profile of the project in the media and with potential future employer community and to accelerate, magnify and co-ordinate the PR activities of the employers already on board.


3.6 Social & economic benefits
No more than 150 words. Provide details on the wider socio-economic impacts of the initiative, explaining how it will add value to the UK economy and how its results/outputs will be disseminated and advertised within society.
The White Paper produced by the pilot project will be published in the Spring of 2019, at the completion of that project. The results to date substantiate the hypothesis that there is a significant untapped population of women who can be trained quickly and economically to be part of the cyber security industry. The initial finding is that resistance to entry is more a matter of employer preconceptions and perceived needs rather than women’s aptitude or willingness to convert to the profession. This needs to be further tested out in the remaining parts of the programme. However, the work to date has demonstrated that there is a clear compatibility between a career in Cyber Security and the working patterns of women in different contexts. It has also shown that the focus on fundamental entry level skills is a positive attractor to women in this field. The flexibility of the roles available is also suitable for many women from diverse backgrounds


The expanded delivery of this programme will extend the benefits of this model to 75 more women and 25 people from neuro diverse and BAME backgrounds. Some of this group might also, of course, be women as well. Therefore, the benefits of delivering cyber security professionals will be magnified and the research will extend to exploring the applicability of this model to these groups.


The next stage of the research and the publications that will stem from it, will move from a white paper approach of mapping out the general areas and identifying the key problems, to providing a model of the way in which this approach can be taken to scale nationally across different target groups and across the Cyber Security industry generally.


3.7 Cyber Security Body of Knowledge (CyBOK)
Provide details, if any, on the CyBOK key knowledge areas that your training will address (e.g. Operating Systems & Virtualisation Security, Cryptography, Cyber-physical systems security, Software Security, etc.). If not applicable, illustrate how your training is relevant to identifying, training and placing candidates into cyber security roles.
PGI has worked on curriculum development in national and international contexts. Our programmes have designed career pathways for specific professions (law enforcement and banking) and mapped skills needed for national cyber security strategy. Integral to all these programmes have been short courses as knowledge building blocks and their implementation in a range of contexts has proven in practice that this approach works in the fast changing cyber security environment.


This programme will deliver individuals who will be ready on completion to enter the UK economy as competent cyber security professionals with qualifications and a useful balance of theory, practical experience and technical skills. Five of the modules within this programme provide validation of awareness and application skills aligned to the Institute of Information Security Practitioners (IISP) skills framework, which is recognised as part of the Government’s investment in cyber security –  the IISP consortium has been appointed by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, to provide certification for UK Government Information Assurance (IA) professionals. Within PGI’s GCHQ Certified Training, the Knowledge Areas (KA) that exist within Cyber Security Body of Knowledge (CyBOK) process are introduced, described, discussed and in most cases extended into practical, hands-on exercises that re-enforces the learning in the relevant topic.


The breakdown of the training programme is as follows:



Stage/Week Hawker Chase / PGI Cyber Retraining Programme at PGI Cyber Academy, Bristol
Pre-Recruitment Assess suitability and IT experience/drive/interest/knowledge (all candidates)
23/01/2018 Candidate Assessment Day
24/01/2018 Candidate Recruitment Day
  Up to 24 Trainees are recommended to client
Week 1 Cyber Security Fundamentals (2 days), Linux Basics (2 days) & Open Source Intelligence (1 day)
Week 2 Network+ (5 days)
Week 3 Network+ Exam (1 day) & Security+ (4 days)
Week 4 Security + (1 day), Security + Exam (1 day) Soft Skills & Teamwork Sessions (3 days)
Week 5 Certificate in Information Security Management Principles (including exam) (CISMP) (5 days)
Week 6 SOC Analyst (5 days)
Week 7 Operational Digital Forensics (5 days)
Week 8 Advanced Threat Methodology (5 days)
Week 9 Penetration Testing Associate (+QSTM exam) (5 days)
Week 10 Certified GDPR Practitioner (5 days)

In terms of the Cybok, the main elements are covered in the following modules above:


Cryptography – Sec+, QSTM, ATM

Privacy & Online Rights  – Sec+

Human Factors – Sec+

Law and Regulation  – QSTM

Risk Management & Governance – CISMP

Network Security – Sec+

Distributed Systems Security – Sec+

Operating Systems & Virtualisation Security -Sec+

Web & Mobile security – QSTM

Hardware Security – this can be added in if employer need is identified

Authentication, Authorisation & Accountability (AAA) -Sec+

Malware and Attack Technologies -Sec+ (basic level)

Adversarial Behaviours Security -ATM, Sec+

Operations & Incident Management – ODF, CISMP

Forensics ODF

Cyber-physical Systems Security – Sec+ (at very basic level)


The following can be added in if necessary:


Software Security

Secure Software Design & Development

Physical Layer & Telecommunications Security


3.8 Monitoring, evaluation and lessons learned
No more than 250 words. Taking into account DCMS requirement expectations set out in the Guidance for Applicants, explain how you will monitor, evaluate and capture lessons learnt through evidencing outputs, measuring outcomes and impacts of your initiative.


Explain what inputs, data and records you will collect to evidence initiative outcomes. How will you make sure that you can attribute skills and employment outcomes directly to the CSIIF?

As with the pilot stage of the project, from the inception of the project there will be a parallel research and evaluation process at each milestone stage. This will assess:


1)    The fast track employment model

a.    As a generic model for cyber security training

b.    As a mechanism for addressing equality and diversity

2)    Creation of stakeholder network of women’s organisations

a.    Interviews and focus groups with organisations on blockers and enablers in the industry and the applicability of this model

3)    Employers stakeholder network to explain and build buy-in to the project

a.    Interviews and focus groups with organisations on blockers and enablers in the industry and the applicability of this model

b.    Surveys at the point of employment and at the end of the year after several months deployment

c.     Detailed engagement with individual employers to enhance the network

4)    Marketing and recruitment process

a.    Description and modelling of this process into a tool kit for use by others

5)    Skills assessment

a.    Assessment of the need for a generic online tool and system that can be taken to scale

b.    Consultations with stakeholder groups and employers’ forums on scalability of the fast track process

6)    Training

a.    Feedback and assessment with candidates on the training programme

7)    Summative meeting of key stakeholders to present findings and discuss proposals for scaling the project nationally

3.9 Initiative risks
Describe briefly the top 3 risks to the success of the initiative.
# Risk description Impact description Mitigation action
R1 The recruitment process does not provide enough candidates to make the three cohorts viable in both women only and mixed cohorts The cohort is too small for the research element to be meaningful and the economic and social

impact is reduced

The creation of the Stakeholder network of women’s organisations and the additional funds for marketing and PR which are maintained in this bid in case the number of applicants is not constant from the pilot
R2 The 25% Neuro-diverse and BAME candidates do not respond in the same way as women candidates This restricts the cohort profile and does not allow the research to extend findings to these areas The project team will reach out to all other projects working with these target groups to ensure the cohort is full and the additional work with employers will include an element of engagement on these themes
R3 Employers are resistant to the model on grounds of cost and are not convinced about the deployment possibilities of the people trained This limits the number of employers who come forward. The specific post to address this and the widening of the network of employment agencies should address this