A government-backed skills programme to help people who have lost their jobs or are at risk of redundancy due to the pandemic will have a focus on cybersecurity as one of 25 projects to boost the economy.

Training for workers in cybersecurity will be offered to address skills gaps in the workforce allowing those already in the sector to progress and creating more entry-level positions for recruitment, the Scottish Government has said.

It will be among a range of sectors set to receive a share of up to £20 million as part of the second phase of the National Transition Training Fund (NTTF).

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement – which will benefit industries across Scotland from digital technology and social care, to tourism, cybersecurity and construction – during a virtual meeting of the National Economic Forum.

The NTTF was created to support people who have lost their job or are at risk of redundancy as a result of the pandemic. Since being established in October 2020 it has helped over 6,000 individuals and this second phase of funding has the potential to provide more than 20,000 additional training opportunities.

The First Minister said: “This £20 million funding will play a key role in supporting Scotland’s businesses to adapt and face the difficulties caused by the pandemic but also to be ready for the changes we expect to see in the labour market over the next five to 10 years.

“Alongside our Young Person’s Guarantee, it will help us to create opportunities for thousands of people and meet skills needs in a range of different sectors ensuring that our workforce is trained and ready to take on the jobs of the future.

“Business, enterprise, the third sector and our colleges and universities are the people who will enable Scotland’s economic recovery to take place, and we will continue to do everything we can to support them as we transition out of the pandemic, and towards our goal of becoming a net zero nation by 2045.”

The £20 million investment is targeted at sectors which need support to recover from the pandemic, to fill identified skills shortages or which have a key role to play in future economic transitions including to net zero. Projects include:

  • aircraft decommissioning training for workers in the Aerospace sector
  • support for people looking to transition into the childcare and adult social care sectors, as well as workers within the sector looking to move into a different role or gain promotion
  • training for workers in cyber security to address skills gaps in the workforce allowing those already in the sector to progress and creating more entry-level positions for recruitment
  • further support for the tourism and hospitality sector to address skills shortages and retain talent through investing in upskilling for future leaders
  • upskilling and reskilling individuals in the construction sector with a focus on energy efficiency measures for older buildings
  • transitioning people from industries affected by the pandemic into the screen sector and more specifically animation, special effects and games businesses which are growth sectors already increasingly hiring Scottish creative businesses