The Golden Valley Development, one of the biggest developments in Gloucestershire’s history, will create opportunities for long and successful careers in cyber for people from diverse backgrounds, according to those behind it.
Plans are to transform some 200 hectares of land adjacent to GCHQ in Cheltenham into ‘world-class, multi-purpose development with the UK’s first cyber focused campus, Cyber Central, at its heart’
And the team behind the Golden Valley Development is beginning 2021 with a publicity campaign aimed not just at highlighting the enormous opportunities, but promoting employment diversity and also busting some myths and stereotypes around the kinds of people who work in cyber and digital technology.
In short, its message is this – ‘young people can enjoy long and successful careers in the cyber industry – one of the fastest-growing sectors on the planet – regardless of background or gender’.
It is a message it seeks to get across in its new video featuring leading lights from Cheltenham’s cyber community and showcasing the sector’s wealth of opportunities available to young people.
Sarah Kingham, of Security Queens, which recently won Best New and Up and Coming Blog at the European Cyber Security Blogger Awards, is one of those featured in the film.
‘Cheltenham is such an exciting place to be right now, and the cyber industry in particular is far more diverse than people might think.
‘Tech, cyber and digital have a stereotypical image of being dominated by men, but that really isn’t the case anymore and I would strongly encourage young women to seriously consider these industries for their careers.’
Jay Dare is also featured in the video. Following an apprenticeship, Mr Dare is now employed as a technical consultant at Cheltenham-based computer networking firm Infrastar.
‘I think in the past a lot of young people were getting overlooked because they might have lacked experience or wisdom in a certain field, but now it is normal to see younger people in high positions,’ said Mr Dare.
The video has been produced by the team behind The Golden Valley Development – Cheltenham’s bid to be the UK’s cyber capital, led by Cheltenham Borough Council.
Organisations including GFirst LEP, Gloucestershire College, CyNam and NCSC are all said to be collaborating to create greater than ever access for young people seeking the skills required for a career in cyber and digital in Cheltenham.
Councillor Victoria Atherstone, Cheltenham Borough Council’s cabinet member economy and development, said: ‘Make no mistake, Cheltenham is booming and cyber is at the heart of that.
‘So many exciting projects and schemes are not just planned for the future, they are happening right now… such as the Golden Valley Development, which underpins our ambitions to drive skills and careers for generations to come.’
She added: ‘This is a hugely exciting time for our town. The scope of engagement with young people and the wealth of opportunities this will create for them is, I believe, unparalleled at a time when many towns and cities are struggling.’
By Andrew Merrell