A NEWPORT based academy training the UK’s next generation of cyber security experts has won acclaim from one of the UK’s top business leaders.

Director general of the Confederation of British Industry Carolyn Fairbairn visited the centre at the University of South Wales yesterday a year after it was established.

The academy, a partnership between the university, the Welsh Government and industry leaders, offers students already studying IT-related subjects the opportunity to gain a set of cyber security skills, and has been endorsed by UK intelligence agency GCHQ.

Ms Fairbairn visited during a two-day trip to Wales in which she met with a number of other top Welsh organisations, including Newport-based semiconductor firm SPTS.

“I wanted to come and meet the new cyber team particularly because it’s a very important, forward-looking industry,” she said.

“It’s very exciting to see capability like this being developed here in Newport.”

She added she believed, with an estimated 4.5 million cyber secutity experts estimated as being needed worldwide by the end of the decade, the academy could be used as a model for similar centres elsewhere.

“These specialisation which some of our fantastic cities are developing are very exciting,” she said. “We know how important cyber security is, not just to UK firms, but globally. The idea of developing a global expertise in Wales in this particular area is very welcome.

“And I’m delighted to see such an extraordinary regeneration that is going along with it and what an impact this is making on the surrounding area.”

Although she said the result of last June’s referendum had been a shock for firms in Wales and across the UK, Ms Fairbairn said she believed Welsh businesses were generally upbeat.

“Businesses are extraordinarily resilient,” she said. “I am seeing here in Wales what I am seeing in other parts of the country, which is they are just cracking on with it.”