Cyber jobs for neurodiverse

by Mark Rowe

Via the online training through Immersive Labs’s Neurodivergent Digital Cyber Academy (NDCA), IASME – a Cyber Essentials accreditation body – has been able to find and nurture the cyber talent of 13 neurodivergent individuals to employ in its own community Security Operations Centre (SOC).

IASME CEO Dr Emma Philpott, who also runs the UK Cyber Security Forum, was featured in the July 2018 print issue of Professional Security magazine. She has found that she can make a real change in the way that cybersecurity training is facilitated for unemployed, neurodiverse adults in Worcester by using the NDCA from Immersive Labs. This browser‐based skills development platform has been funded by the Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. It allows users to gain the knowledge and technical expertise required for a career in cybersecurity. Dr Philpott and IASME have identified and employed 13 people who had developed demonstrable cyber skills using the Immersive Labs platform, and thus were prepared to start work.

The scheme recognises that for neurodivergent individuals in the UK, finding employment is challenging. Workplaces rarely cater for atypical thinkers, while those seeking jobs often don’t possess the basic skills required to take that crucial first step towards employment. Few autistic adults are in full‐time work.

Dr Philpott said: “Immersive Labs gave them the education needed; some of them had no cyber skills prior to using the platform. By completing labs – which they could do at home on their own terms – we could establish their strengths and place them in the business. Our new employees are full of ideas; it has energised the whole company. It’s the fact that it’s different people with unique ways of thinking.”

IASME was among the exhibitors at the International Security Expo at London Olympia last week.


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