Our cyber security apprentices challenge us to look with ‘fresh eyes’  

11th February 2021

Becky McCarey

Becky McCarey
Future Talent Development Manager

At Nominet, we’ve just welcomed two new cyber security apprentices to our team – two enthusiastic young people who are taking their first steps into an industry that is crying out for skills and fresh talent. Our CISO, Cath Goulding – who manages and supports our cyber apprentices – put it well in a previous post: “As anyone who works in cyber knows, we can only keep pace with cyber criminals if we keep learning… Investment in such innovative and eager talent will help to ensure all cyber security provisions are robust and keep pace with threats, keeping citizens, infrastructure and data safe, no matter what lies ahead.”

We’re proud to be investing in future talent to support such a crucial challenge. By giving our apprentices an introductory grounding in the discipline of cyber security, they can begin to better understand the array of roles within the field and get real-life, hands-on experience to help them shape their ideas about their own career. Their presence helps Nominet, too. We gain two pairs of ‘fresh eyes’ looking at difficult problems, challenging our processes and helping us innovate.

Nominet has provided cyber security apprenticeships since 2017 and it’s been hugely successful, for both us as a company and the young people we’ve seen blossom. One such former apprentice is Chris Underwood; he’s now working for us as a Security Analyst and is a real asset to the company. He describes his time as an apprentice as a “valuable foot in the door – a great jump-start into cyber security”.

Chris continues: “The apprenticeship gave me incredible insight into how a technology business works and helped me to understand the processes and learn on the job. It was really useful in understanding what is required for a career in cyber security.”

This understanding is crucial, as this industry had previously been too shrouded in secrecy. We need to help young people recognise that there is a wide array of different roles and specialisms. Individuals with a broad range of skills and interests can find a position that is both fulfilling and valuable – and we need them like never before.

Joel and Aamir started as our cyber apprentices in January 2021 and are already immersed in the reality of cyber security at a technology company at the forefront of national digital infrastructure.

Joel has a BTEC in IT and some work experience under his belt, but is looking to gain “a good solid grounding in cyber security and become a valuable team member – that’s important to me, especially at a company at the heart of keeping the internet safe for everyone. I applied because wanted to do something interesting and worthwhile in an area which is challenging and constantly changing – and this is certainly the case in the world of cyber security.”

Aamir also has a BTEC in IT and set his sights on a career in cyber security when he was 14. He says he sought an apprenticeship “because I wanted to get into cyber security in what I think is the best and most practical way possible. I don’t want to spend years away studying and unable to use my skills practically.” He’s looking forward to immersing himself in the work and learning more, with hopes to be an exploit developer in due course.

Does Chris have any advice for our two new recruits? “Be ready to constantly learn and absorb knowledge. It can be overwhelming at first, but by being curious and willing to keep learning, you will take advantage of what an apprenticeship can offer – and it will be very rewarding.”

We’re thrilled to have these two ambitious and enthusiastic young people with us at Nominet and hope they achieve all the strive for. As a company, we want to keep talking about our apprentices to remind young people of the path such schemes can offer into a rewarding career in key industries like cyber security.

Apprenticeships are particularly important in today’s world. The impact of Covid-19 on education and the jobs market cannot be underestimated. It’s a worrying time for school-leavers trying to decide on what comes next for them. An apprenticeship could be a smart option to start earning while learning and gain hands-on experience to kickstart your career.  And why not in cyber security, helping to keep critical infrastructure safe? It’s an area where new talent is in demand, the roles are varied, the work is interesting – and it truly matters. There are few things more worthwhile to spend your days on than helping to keep others safe.

Find out more about building your career at Nominet on our Careers page.

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