THE next generation of cyber security experts will be trained in Newport as the first cyber security academy in Wales is launched.

The National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA) at the Newport City Campus is a joint project between the University of South Wales and the Welsh Government. The innovative project is to help address a shortage of cyber security skills and develop the next generation of cyber security experts.

By 2019 it is forecast that an additional 4.5 million personnel will be needed worldwide.

With funding support from the Welsh Government, the £500,000 pilot initiative involves current USW computer forensics and computer security undergraduates.

They will work on real-world projects set by NCSA partners, while also ‘flight testing’ the course from October to ensure it meets the latest cyber security challenges.

If the pilot is successful, the university will build up the student numbers through the delivery of a full-time dedicated degree programme in Applied Cyber Security.

The academy will involve Welsh digital innovation company Innovation Point and major industry players – including Airbus, General Dynamics UK, Alert Logic, Information Assurance, QinetiQ, Silcox Information Security, Westgate Cyber, Wolfberry and the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster.

Professor Julie Lydon, vice-chancellor of the University of South Wales, said: “Both government and business understand there is a growing need for graduates with hands-on skills that can fight cyber threats, and that there is a need to work together to address this challenge.

“For industry, it offers direct access to a pool of graduates who have been trained to the highest standards and who have a clear understanding of cyber threats, while, for the students, it will maximise the opportunities for them to get a job when they leave USW.”

Economy minister Edwina Hart AM said: “Cyber crime continues to pose a growing global security threat and there is a real demand for highly skilled cyber security experts to tackle this issue. South Wales is already a renowned centre for cyber security expertise and this initiative is designed to deliver the highly specialist skills required by businesses working in the sector.”