Founded in 2015, the UK Cyber Security Forum (UKCSF) originally supported the setting up of clusters of small cyber security companies across the UK. The Forum lobbied and represented these small companies on a national level until this role was taken on by a government funded body.
In recent years, the UKCSF has focused on training unemployed neurodivergent adults to bridge the skills gap in cyber security. Figures show that only 16% of autistic adults are in full time work and 21% in any type of paid work. This figure has not changed for the last decade. Some individuals are highly skilled in technical matters, yet a combination of social barriers and anxiety prevents them from gaining employment. With suitable training and support, IASME and the UKCSF have shown that neurodivergent individuals can have a successful career in these highly skilled industries.
The neurodivergent training scheme first ran programmes in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, IASME bought the UKCSF to enable the Forum to continue to operate over the pandemic. It remains a Community Interest Company (CIC) which operates as the social enterprise arm of IASME Consortium and under which the community projects are managed. Recently, UKCSF has been working with the UK Government through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to deliver the training programme.
With a small team from IASME, UKCSF are involved in a Community Cyber Service project to combat the high levels of cyber-crime that effects people in vulnerable communities. Sanctuary Care Home is working with IASME in a pilot study, where elderly residents will be supported to protect their devices from threats, in line with government guidelines.