The inaugural cohort of the Empowering Women to Lead, Cyber Security initiative are to meet in central London for the first time this week, bringing together twenty aspiring cyber professionals from across government and industry for two days of intensive leadership development. The new programme, designed to support emerging cyber leaders in the London and Southern England region, is supported by techUK and the Cabinet Office's Government Security Group and is an extension of the successful programme which has already been running in Scotland for the past year.
This week's workshops represent the start of a three-month programme for the participant, a mixture of early-to-mid career cyber security and information management professionals, who have been selected from an open application process which attracted over 100 applicants from across sectors as diverse as financial services, defence, telecommunications, government, and health. The make-up of the cohort was decided on by the programme's panel of experts including Daniel Patefield, Head of Cyber Security at techUK, alongside Jill Broom, techUK's Programme Manager for Cyber Security and Central Government and the Cabinet Office's Deputy Director for the Government Security Profession, Joanna Billan, along with senior industry representatives.
All places on the programme are free of charge to participants, with the funding provided by a number of industry partners who share the initiative's vision of a more inclusive and diverse future for the cyber security profession. Lloyds Banking Group are the latest industry partner to pledge their support to the new London and Southern England programme, having already been a key partner to the previous two cohorts in Scotland.
Commenting on why the financial services giant felt that gender diversity in the sector was so important, their Head of Joint Security Operations Centre, Findlay Whitelaw yesterday said:
At Lloyds Banking Group we fully recognise that gender diversity is key to our success and that of our people. As an organisation we need to reflect the society we serve and that is why we are thrilled to continue our support for this initiative to encourage women to develop their careers in IT and Cyber Security leadership again in 2022. The low proportion of women in the UK cyber workforce really highlights the challenge we have and if we want to remove the barriers to women as they embark on and progress their careers in Cyber Security, and help them overcome their challenges, programmes like this are instrumental in achieving this.
The Spring cohort of Empowering Women to Lead, Cyber Security runs from April to June. The organisers, Empowering You, have already announced plans for further programmes to run across the majority of the UK in the Autumn, including Northern England, Northern Ireland and Wales, alongside the established programs in London/Southern England and Scotland. Further details on the current programme can be found here.