Back in 2019, at one of the very last physical events, Cyber Pathways, I had the pleasure of meeting an extraordinary individual with a real passion for cyber, this was Jamie. Jamie is neurodiverse and it was at this point I joined him on his cyber career pathway.
When I met Jamie, he was passionate about getting a job in cyber but despite applying for lots of jobs and attending a few interviews he was not recruited. Although Jamie was disappointed, he has amazing resilience and did a lot of online learning, including teaching himself Linux and passing his CompTIA+ exams. Jamie also recognised the importance of getting some work experience and so worked on a range of projects from waste to energy whilst gaining experience in research, writing reports, spreadsheets, setting up emails and working on the company website.
Jamie, always keen to learn and develop his cyber knowledge further, was one of the people who completed the Headstart in Cyber course which formed part of the Autism in the Workplace scheme, run by Track NN and the National Museum of Computing. In the UK, there are around 1 in 60 people currently living with autism, some diagnosed and others not. And significantly there are only 16% of adults with autism in employment. The scheme was set up to support these individuals and offer employers an insight into best practices whilst enabling employers to discover a pool of untapped talent.
The Headstart Programme involves approximately 30 guided learning hours, whereby students work through the 10 core online modules with the opportunity to select one or more of the three specialist modules. Whilst engaging with the content, which is accessible for different types of learners, learners write short journal entries for each module and a short piece of prompted reflective writing. The course is ideal for such programmes as well as for afterschool, lunchtime, STEM or SEND clubs for Year 9 and above. At the end of the course, learners receive a Certificate of Completion which demonstrates all the areas of cyber they engaged with. Some students are keen and able to transfer onto the CyberEPQ. The accredited Level 3 CyberEPQ requires a 5,000-word essay and evidence of time and project management whilst developing independent study and communication skills.
One of the outcomes from the Autism in the Workplace scheme, was that we were able to allocate Jamie a mentor through our Mentoring scheme. His mentor helped Jamie to shape his cyber professional profile.
Jamie is now safely on his cyber career path. As a result of all of Jamie’s hard work, passion and commitment for cyber, I am thrilled to announce that Jamie started his first cyber position earlier this week on the Deloitte Graduate Programme. Congratulations Jamie and we wish you all the best!