Immersive Labs has today announced early success of its Neurodivergent Digital Cyber Academy (NDCA), an initiative that’s been funded by the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Through the NDCA, IASME – a leading Cyber Essentials accreditation body – has been able to find and nurture the cyber talent of 13 neurodivergent individuals to employ in its own community Security Operations Centre (SOC).
IASME CEO Dr Emma Philpott, who also runs the UK Cyber Security Forum, has found that she can make a real change in the way that cybersecurity training is facilitated for unemployed, neurodiverse adults in Worcester by using the NDCA from Immersive Labs. This browser‐based skills development platform allows users to gain the knowledge and technical expertise required for a career in cybersecurity. Dr Philpott and IASME have identified and employed 13 individuals who had developed demonstrable cyber skills using the Immersive Labs platform, and thus were prepared to start work.
The scheme recognises that for neurodivergent individuals in the UK, finding employment is extremely challenging. Workplaces rarely cater for atypical thinkers, while those seeking jobs often don’t possess the basic skills required to take that crucial first step towards employment. This is demonstrated by the fact that just 16% of autistic adults are in full‐time work.
Dr Philpott said, “Immersive Labs gave them the education needed; some of them had no cyber skills prior to using the platform. By completing labs – which they could do at home on their own terms – we could establish their strengths and place them in the business.”
IASME has enhanced its already inclusive culture and now benefits from a diversified workforce. “Our new employees are full of ideas; it has energised the whole company. It’s the fact that it’s different people with unique ways of thinking,” Dr Philpott continued.
“The Immersive Labs platform has just been amazing at helping me learn the ropes and practise skills which could be useful in almost any cybersecurity career,” said Matthew, aka Blastoise186, an NDCA user who is benefitting from the initiative. “I’ve been able to hone my skills by trying out a huge selection of labs, ranging from analysing malware to forensics [and] penetration testing,” he explained.
Immersive Labs’ Community Manager, Jack Jordan‐Connelly, said, “There are many incredibly talented individuals who are overlooked when it comes to employment in our field; it is our responsibility to provide them the start they need.”
Following the arrival of its new employees, more than half of IASME’s workforce is neurodiverse. The business provides flexible working and accommodates every type of thinker, without giving specific benefits to certain employees and not others.
For more information on the NDCA or to get access to the platform, please visit:https://www.ndca.immersivelabs.online/register