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Introducing Cyber PATH: A partnership between NCRCG, the CRC network and academia

Introducing Cyber PATH: A partnership between NCRCG, the CRC network and academia

Cyber PATH is an elite talent pipeline for the next generation of specialists in cyber resilience; it's an excellent way for students to engage in the commercial aspects of the sector and gain vital experience whilst helping SMEs with their cyber resilience.

Developed by the National Cyber Resilience Centre Group (NCRCG) in partnership with the regional Cyber Resilience Centre (CRC) network, Cyber PATH is a programme open to students in full-time higher education who want to help shore up the nation’s defences against cybercrime and gain vital experience in a commercial setting.

The programme gives young people the opportunity to work alongside senior Security Practitioners to deliver affordable and high-quality cyber resilience services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

As well as making cyber operations safer and more secure in smaller organisations, students are equipped with the essential skills, knowledge and on-the-job training they need to succeed in the workplace upon graduation.

Cybercrime is fluid and requires us to constantly refresh our thinking which is why Cyber PATH embraces diversity of thought in its cadre of students. The programme welcomes the brightest young students with the necessary learning, skillsets and intellectual ability best suited to addressing this changing landscape of crime.

What is the relationship between NCRCG, the CRC network and SMEs?

The National Cyber Resilience Centre Group and regional Cyber Resilience Centres are funded and supported by the Home Office and policing in a not-for-profit partnership with the private sector and academia to strengthen our national cyber resilience across SMEs and the supply chain.

At a national level, NCRCG is building a coalition of police, government, large employers and organisations, and academia to ensure a collaborative and coherent approach to cyber resilience.

NCRCG and its National Ambassadors are committed to investing in the next generation of cyber experts. As such, NCRCG has launched Cyber PATH in partnership with the CRC network and over 45 universities.

The nine CRCs operate across England and Wales. They serve SMEs in their locality helping to build cyber resilience against threats that are specific to them. Cyber PATH empowers students to work with their regional CRC in meeting the requests brought to them by local businesses.

Each CRC retains the freedoms to deliver tailored, trusted and affordable support, with NCRCG providing insight and solutions at a macro level.

Accredited by NCRCG and delivered regionally, Cyber PATH enables students across the country to be part of a national programme whilst guaranteeing that they, through their CRC, can provide essential support and guidance to SMEs local to them.

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What does this mean for students?

Having been successful in the rigorous Cyber PATH application process, students are trusted to work on real, live problems for clients and gain invaluable hands-on work experience.

Overseen by a senior practitioner with experience in consulting, as well as a graduate supervisor, Cyber PATH students learn from some of the industry’s top specialists.

Students are paid appropriately for their work whilst ensuring they have the flexibility and time to balance the programme’s activities with their university studies.

With unique workplace experience and BPSS vetting, Cyber PATH greatly enhances students’ employability upon graduation. It helps them to stand out in a competitive job market and access a pool of high-skilled job opportunities.

Graduates of the programme will go on to take up roles across the SME community, enter a career in the police or accept places on top-quality graduate schemes.

What does this mean for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?

Cyber PATH allows SMEs to access practical, affordable and bespoke support from their local CRC at a highly subsidised rate.

Each CRC works closely with local universities to handpick the top tier of students with an interest in cyber resilience. Working under the guidance of experienced specialists, the students deliver a range of services using industry standard tools and techniques to help SMEs better protect themselves and their supply chain against cybercrime. Among the services offered are security awareness training, vulnerability assessments and security policy reviews.

Most importantly, each centre is well-versed in the business demographics of their region and any relevant cyber risks, meaning SMEs can be confident that they are receiving a reliable and first-rate service that is appropriate to their needs.

What does this mean for the country?

Crime has changed and so too have the issues that organisations worry about.

Cyber PATH is developing a second-to-none talent pipeline in the cyber industry, ensuring that, as a nation, we are readying and inspiring the next generation of those who will tackle cybercrime.

By bringing together our nation’s most experienced cyber and commercial specialists with our brightest young minds we can stay ahead of the curve and continue to turn the tide against cyber criminals.

In doing so, we benefit the UK economy, protect our national resources, and make the UK a more attractive place to work and invest.

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