USW and Welsh Government launch the National Cyber Security Academy

The University of South Wales and the Welsh Government have teamed up to launch the National Cyber Security Academy.

The first of its kind in the UK, the academy will be based at the university’s Newport City campus and will begin taking students in September.

It’s hoped that the NCSA will address a lack of cyber security skills and develop the next generation of experts in the area. By 2019, an additional 4.5 million such professionals will be needed.

Organisations involved in the project include Innovation Point, Airbus, General Dynamics UK, Alert Logic, Information Assurance, QinetiQ, Silcox Information Security, Westgate Cyber and Wolfberry.

The initiative costs £500,000 and is being funded by the Welsh Government. It builds on existing plans for a £60 million Newport Knowledge Quarter, which is a partnership between USW and Coleg Gwent to build a new campus in the city.

As well as taking on new students, the NCSA will facilitate a cohort of existing USW computer forensics and computer security undergraduates. They’ll work on projects set by industry partners and flight test the course to ensure it meets cyber security challenges.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart AM said: “Cyber crime continues to pose a growing global security threat and there is a real demand for highly skilled cyber security experts to tackle this issue.

“South Wales is already a renowned centre for cyber security expertise and this initiative is designed to deliver the highly specialist skills required by businesses working in the sector.”

Andy Love, strategic business development at Airbus, said: “There is an emerging eco system around cyber technology that is based in South Wales and Airbus is proud to be part of it.

“Our involvement with the course and the curriculum is an exciting opportunity for business and academia to influence the next generation of cyber security specialists.”

Professor Julie Lydon, vice-chancellor of the University of South Wales, said: “Cyber security – along with terrorism, international military crises, and major accidents and natural disasters – is seen by the UK Government as one of the four major national security threats facing the country.

“Meanwhile – according to research by the Ponemon Institute – 39 major companies in the UK faced costs of between £630,000 and £16m in fighting cyber crime last year.

“Therefore, both government and business understand there is a growing need for graduates with hands-on skills that can fight cyber threats, and that there is a need to work together to address this challenge.

“That’s the demand that the NCSA will address. Putting students and industry together to come up with solutions to online problems.”