Training the cyber security professionals of the future

Hayden Wright, INS Cyber Security Apprentice, was at the opening of a brand new facility dedicated to training the next generation of cyber security professionals. In his blog Hayden talks about the importance of cyber security and his experience as an apprentice on the front line of tackling this 21st Century threat.

Last week I was lucky enough to be one of the first to view the impressive new Cyber Lab classroom in West Cumbria.

The bespoke facility, based at the Energus building near Workington, has been co-funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as part of a cyber programme that’s designed to grow capability and capacity for the NDA estate and its businesses.

Cyber security and resilience is vital to the operation of the civil nuclear and decommissioning sector. So the launch of the first NDA Cyber Lab classroom signifies an important and welcome focus on cyber safety, and the NDA’s commitment to this discipline.

Hayden at the opening of the Cyber Lab at Energus

Cyber apprentices

The aim of the Cyber Lab is to train the next generation of cyber security professionals.

I’m proud to be part of that next generation. I’m one of nine cyber security apprentices who started training in September last year.

We’ve been placed across the nuclear decommissioning industry to ensure the sector is developing the right skills to tackle the increasing cyber threat from around the world.

It’s a growing profession and ultimately training people like me will help defend against increasing cyber threats to the UK’s critical national infrastructure, the country and the wider economy.

International Nuclear Services

I’ve been placed with International Nuclear Services (INS), a subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and a world leading transporter of nuclear materials.

Transport is a crucial aspect of the nuclear sector – the UK and global nuclear industry needs nuclear materials to be constantly managed and moved.

At INS we have over 40 years’ experience of helping to solve complex nuclear challenges, and our security capabilities are a vital part of what we do. Cyber security is increasingly a big part of that.

My placement with INS

Since joining INS in September I’ve taken part in a number of activities that have increased my knowledge, experience and skills whilst helping to maintain the high standards of cyber security in place at INS.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Japan where I took part in a stream of network assurance work at the INS office in Tokyo, and used my knowledge to develop a presentation aimed at educating our Japanese colleagues on cyber dangers and risks.

Hayden seen here with members of the INS office in Japan

My trip to Japan was invaluable. Not only was I able to see the international side of INS’s operations, I was able to learn how a professional penetration test is carried out from planning to execution, and all the way through to final reporting.

It also enabled me to experience Tokyo (an amazing city) and get over a lifelong dislike of seafood!

Tackling a 21st Century threat

I’ve been a Cyber Apprentice at INS for nearly 6 months now and even in that relatively short space of time I’ve learnt so much and had the chance to get my hands dirty in some real life scenarios.

Not only will it help my education and future career, it will help INS and the wider sector defend against cyber threats.

Cyber is one of the greatest security related challenges we face, something that’s been recognised by UK government, the nuclear decommissioning sector, and our regulators.

Having the right people with the right skills to tackle this 21st century threat is crucial.

The brand new Cyber Lab at Energus will help develop the next generation of cyber security professionals and I feel privileged to be one of the first apprentices to use the facility.