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ONR inspector wins high-profile cyber security industry award

An Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) inspector was recognised at a high-profile cyber security awards ceremony for delivering key industry training.

Gary Fildes was singled out for improving UK cyber capability as a trainer and mentor of the CompTIA Cyber Ready programme, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The ONR cyber security and information assurance inspector was a leading part of the team which recently won the honour for Best Professional Training or Certification Programme at the SC Awards Europe 2022.

The ceremony took place at the London Marriot hotel last week.

Cyber Ready is a six-month programme designed to give participants access to the latest industry-standard content on cyber security, using face-to-face and virtual training, on-demand videos, virtual labs and adaptive questions to build their cyber skills.

So far, 120 people have successfully completed the free Cyber Ready programme, with more participants currently working through it, which has led to many of them securing new employment opportunities within the cyber security field.

The scheme, piloted in 2018, has been running for the last four years and seen Gary and his team working with partners including Skills Development Scotland, West Midlands Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

It aims to reach a diverse cross-section of communities and help people potentially stuck in socio-economic traps.

Cyber Ready was created from a conversation between ONR security expert Gary and CompTIA colleague Zeshan Sattar at a National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) event in 2017.

SC Awards Europe's judging panel, led by top industry professionals, described Cyber Ready as a 'very strong offering' that 'clearly highlights how it differentiates itself from competitors with its focus on a diverse pool of candidates.'

They added: “This initiative creates meaningful impact in society and deserves a recognition."

Gary, part of ONR's Civil Nuclear Security and Safeguards division, said: "We have seen individuals come from cyber zero to cyber hero, accepting roles in major organisations, notable private cyber security companies, the Ministry of Defence, the NCSC and within the nuclear industry.

“Ultimately, it’s a tremendous honour for Cyber Ready, CompTIA, DCMS and the funding partners.

“Our goal is to introduce more people into a rewarding cyber security career while helping organisations of all sizes strengthen their cyber security efforts.”

Cyber Ready is currently training participants in the Bradford area and it is hoped more funding will be made available for future rollouts.

Paul Shanes, ONR’s Professional Lead for Cyber Security said: “This award recognises the dedication and passion Gary has demonstrated towards the development of individuals in the wider field of cyber security.

“This commitment extends beyond ONR, to all those interested in developing their cyber security skills at a time when many sectors are struggling due to the relatively limited pool of cyber talent that exists across the globe.

“It is a tremendous achievement and one for which Gary should be very proud.”