VETERANS of the Scottish Armed Forces are being retrained to help address a “significant” skills gap in the nation’s cyber security workforce.

The partnership project between Skills Development Scotland, SaluteMyJob, Abertay University, IBM and tech start-up Skillzminer has been launched with the ambition of filling a shortage being faced by employers across the country.

Launched yesterday as part of Cyber Scotland Week, the pilot is kicking off with an eight-week penetration testing course next month, allowing former forces personnel to learn ethical hacking and penetration testing skills at Abertay, as well as through online study and job shadowing. The goal of the project is to add technical cyber security skills to the military training and experience already acquired by the students, in order to help fill some of the 13,000 digital jobs in Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience: Learning and Skills Action Plan 2018-20 suggests that the global cyber security workforce gap is expected to reach 1.8 million professionals by 2022.

Course participant Richard Barratt, a former marine with 45 Commando in Arbroath, said: “The support, guidance and advice SaluteMyJob has provided me in supporting my career transition into a cyber role has been excellent and testament to the team’s hard work and dedication.

READ MORE: Cyber concerns fuel Scottish security staff demand

“In addition, the opportunity and privilege of attending two of their courses has attracted the attention of several high profile organisations in my current search for a new role.”

SaluteMyJob managing director Andrew Jackson said: “Service men and women have the knowledge, skills and experience to transition relatively easily into well paid jobs in cyber security.

“Most think cyber is deeply technical; in fact, generalist military training is ideally suited to roles as security consultants, incident and operations centre managers, as well as more specialist roles such as penetration testing. Alongside employer partners such as IBM, DXC, Stratia Cyber, Claranet, Quorum Cyber, Grant Thornton and others, we look forward to helping military people realign their military skills to cyber security.”