The first event designed to help build a pipeline of diverse talent in response to the growing cyber skills gap takes place in Scotland today.

Neurocyber, hosted at the offices of Oracle in Linlithgow, will connect the Scottish cyber security and technology market with young autistic people possessing a highly desirable IT skill set.

Delivered by Cyber Security Challenge in collaboration with Young Scot, and funded by the Scottish Government, the one-day event comprises two ‘tracks’ with the aim of “promoting open conversation around autism and to drive inclusive economic growth in Scotland”.

The programme invites companies leading the tech and cyber markets in Scotland, the Scottish Government and autism and employer support networks to join forces on the topic of neurodiversity in the workplace, and to connect autistic young people and adults with education and employment opportunities that will enable them to embark on fulfilling careers.

“If we want to ensure the cyber security skills gap in Scotland is filled it’s vital we proactively support employers in their search for talent, allowing them to reach out to all our communities and ensure equity of access to learning and employment opportunities,” said Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills.

“In the past autistic people might have faced barriers to employment due to employers’ perceptions that recruiting them might be difficult. This event is a significant step forward in convincing employers in all sectors of the benefits of employing autistic people in cyber security roles, and equipping them with the practical tools to recruit inclusively and to support everyone to succeed in the workplace.”

This is a fantastic opportunity for autistic young people to discover what a career in cyber security might look like and to connect with employers

Allan Lindsay

Parents, carers, support workers, teachers and autistic adults who want to learn more about helping to fill the critical shortfall of young people entering the cyber security industry are encouraged to attend the conference track and collaborate to sustain the discussion about attracting and retaining diverse skill sets in the tech and cyber industries.

Allan Lindsay, Director of Participation and Co-Design at Young Scot, said: “Scotland’s first Neurocyber event is a fantastic opportunity for autistic young people to look forward to a career in technology and cyber security. We know that entering the job market can be challenging, and this event will promote inclusion in the workplace, positive conversations around autism, and give young people the chance to explore possibilities for their future.

“We believe that Neurocyber in Scotland will not only explain how to build a rewarding career, but it will support parents and carers in encouraging young people in dismantling the barriers they may face entering the workplace. The day includes a fantastic programme of inspiring events that will allow young people to experience first-hand what it’s like to work in technology and cyber security, and it should encourage employers to consider how they can create a more inclusive working environment for all.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for autistic young people to discover what a career in cyber security might look like and to connect with employers and support organisations who are very eager to invest in their sought-after skills.“

Colin Lobley, chief executive of Cyber Security Challenge UK, added: “As the cyber threat we face today becomes increasingly complex and all-encompassing, tapping into more diverse talent pools must become a fundamental element of any organisation’s hiring strategy.

“Not only will this enable businesses to possess the diversity of thought required in their teams, but by engaging with the talent pools traditionally not addressed, as an industry we will start to see higher volumes of individuals entering the cyber security profession that will help stem the growing skills gap.

“We’re pleased to be driving a significant step change with our first Neurocyber event in Scotland, backed by the Scottish Government, and are excited to support the growth of this support network. Our shared aim is to ensure autistic young people and adults are connected with the right resources to pursue fulfilling opportunities in an industry where their skills are critical to achieving future growth, as well as in tackling the skills shortage.”