Real-World Readiness

15 May 2018

Cyber security interns

Cardiff University students made final presentations during an event at Cardiff Business School’s Postgraduate Training Centre, on Wednesday 9 May, to mark the end of a fourteen week iQ4 Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance (CWA) pilot, which launched in February.

In partnership with iQ4, CWA and Innovation Point, Cardiff University is the first UK institution to pilot the model, which has seen sixteen students, from a range of disciplines, complete a virtual internship led by Dr Pete Burnap, Director, Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics at Cardiff University. The part-time internship forms part of the university’s Innovation for All programme, designed to help students to be active and responsible citizens and to be successful in the world of work, by providing them with opportunities to engage with employers and to think creatively and solve real world problems.

Dr Burnap said: “At Cardiff University we have a commitment to support graduate development across all disciplines. Cyber security is an incredibly socio-technical process. It requires input from the traditional technical subjects such as Computer Science and Engineering; but also from psychology, social sciences, law and business. At the end of the day it’s a combination of people and technology that keep systems secure. The CWA pilot has provided a diverse range of students with the skills and knowledge required by the cyber security industry and we are proud to have pioneered this innovative pilot with iQ4 and Innovation Point.”

Developed in the US, the aim of the internship is to accelerate the awareness, readiness and scale of the student workforce. Students work in project teams, virtually mentored by industry experts, where they gain valuable work experience that helps them to land dream careers.

Peter Meehan, Senior Vice President, International & Partnerships for iQ4 Corp and Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance (CWA) said: “They join the 700 CWA-alumni who have been through the virtual-internship applied learning programme since August 2015 and notably approximately 40% of CWA-alumni are female. The CWA internships are scalable and open to all students. The course enables them to learn team, role and workplace skills while being mentored online by industry experts 1-hour per week.

Each student has been provided with an electronic passport to record their achievements and the experience gained contributes to the Cardiff Award, Cardiff University’s prestigious employability award that recognises extra-curricular activities and focuses on students’ professional development.

Kathryn Dainty, International Business Management student, said: “I got a lot out of the project. Having the mentors is really good because you’re learning from people who are actually in the business and are good at what they do.”

Liam Hancock, Business Management student, said: “I think public speaking is one of the best things you get from it. You never have any real chance to have repeated opportunities to speak in front of such high calibre people. I think it’s a great opportunity for anyone who has even a little bit of interest in cyber security or just wants to add to their CV.”

Lauren Boys is studying Politics and Sociology, she said: “I feel a lot more confident to talk to people now, about cyber security and in general. It’s been one of the things that I’ll probably look back on the most from my time at university. I think it’s a really important thing to have done and it has helped me develop skills to get a job when I graduate.”

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