Crestfallen cyber students who miss out on their first choices of university are being given free access to Immersive Labs’ cyber skills development platform.
Backed by Goldman Sachs and developed by an ex GCHQ trainer, the technology will give students access to a purpose-built set of ‘labs’ which drop the user into entry-level cybersecurity challenges designed to set them on a path to working in cybersecurity.
The initiative is a reflection of the company’s belief that legacy ways of training cyber talent are obsolete against an ever-changing threat landscape. Static measurements of skills, such as certification and periodic training, are unable to keep pace as the best cyber talent learns by being hands-on, not sitting in a classroom.
For this reason, on Clearing Day and for a week after, Immersive Labs will respond to those who can prove they haven’t got into their first choice of university via this sign-up form on the website. The labs will stay available for six months and will be periodically updated with new content.
Each lab is essentially a cybersecurity story run through the browser. It drops the student into a simulated incident which appears as it would to a security team in a company and encourages them to teach themselves the skills to progress.
Immersive Labs’ Founder and CEO, James Hadley, says: “The world is crying out for cybersecurity talent, yet the majority of ways we are trying to train these people are broken. While university can be a valuable path for some, its rigid conditions can also be exclusive.
“Not everyone wants to sit in a classroom learning passively. My experience at GCHQ taught me the best cyber talent is creative and curious; they learn by breaking things and thinking on their feet. Unfortunately, this jars with traditional teaching methods, which I fear is leading to an unnecessary talent drain. We have opened up our platform to give these individuals an opportunity to learn.”
Labs are designed by a team which includes specialists with experience working for intelligence agencies in law enforcement and inside large companies.
This will sit under the ever-growing Digital Cyber Academies initiative and differ from Immersive Lab’s full enterprise product, which is used by almost 100 organisations globally including Aviva plc, the NHS and Sophos to upskill 2,500 people every single day.