On June 29th, the new Human Capital Agenda Security 2023-2026 was presented to prof. mr. Lokke Moerel by executive CEO of HSD Joris Den Bruinen during Security Delta’s 10-year anniversary. The agenda underscores the urgency to collectively invest time and resources to further enforce cybersecurity talent development programmes. A recently announced €7.1 million subsidy in IT (security) talent development from the Dutch Growth Fund further enhances the clout to execute the new Human Capital Agenda.
The Netherlands is among the most digitised countries in the world. Thanks to early and continuous investments in its digital infrastructure, the country has highly reliable high-speed internet connectivity. Many sectors benefit from these investments and have built their digital services on this infrastructure. And new economic opportunities await in the digital domain. But as the digital world grows, so do opportunities for cyber criminals. In response, the Dutch have become among the most praised cybersecurity experts and continuously invest in advanced cybersecurity technology and processes. They are also among the most proactive in developing and diversifying their cybersecurity workforce.
Digital security isn’t a one-dimensional nor a static field of work. Technology, processes and people all pose their own set of vulnerabilities in the digital context. And while there is a constant influx of new technology, cybercriminals adapt just as fast. Motives, methods, technology and resources vary by incident, requiring skilled multidisciplinary cybersecurity teams to design solid security measures and orchestrate dynamic crisis responses.
But the fast developments also make it difficult for employers to effectively define and articulate their hiring needs, which in turn makes it hard for talent to connect with them. Also, it requires educators to flexibly adapt their curricula to industry developments.
Front and center on everything concerning security of our digitising world is the HSD Campus in The Hague, home to industry leaders such as Booz Allen, the HSD Headquarters and the IoT Lab of Leiden University of Applied Sciences. It is the central meeting point for security professionals, events and innovation programmes. HSD connects government organisations, businesses and research and education institutes in order to further the sector and meet the security needs of our digitising society.
Generating access to talent is one of HSD's four main goals, for which the connection with the public, private and research organisations in its partner base is an invaluable asset. It enables ample interaction between supply side and demand side of talent, which is arguably the only way to effectively develop solutions that balance the two. One example of how this interaction manifests, is the digital forensics class from Leiden University of applied sciences, sharing the coffee machine with cybersecurity professionals and researchers each Friday.
Several programmes are up and running to bridge the gaps between the needs of the industry, educators and talent. The primary programme is the platform Security Talent, which includes current job and internship vacancies, upcoming courses and events, as well as a career navigator where talent can explore aspirational career paths in the cyber domain and inspirational stories from security professionals at work. Cybersecurity Werkt is specifically focused on attracting Dutch-speaking professionals from other fields to the cyber domain. Given the diversity in skills required in cyber teams, this platform is a valuable resource in supplying that diverse talent to the cybersecurity talent pool. It offers a skills test to check if your profile matches the requirements for jobs in cyber security and different kinds of information about what cybersecurity is and which paths can be followed to land a job in the industry.
Since 2015, HSD organises the International Cyber Security Summer School annually together with NATO’s Communications and Information Agency, Europol, Leiden University and various HSD partners. It is a deep-dive offered to around 60 master students and PhD candidates from various academic backgrounds, and immerses them in various challenges and cases to solve, all provided by industry experts. What sets this programme apart is that it brings together a multidisciplinary group of students with a technical, policy, legal and/or social background and provide them with an opportunity to let them learn from one another and gain insight in each other’s fields. Read the review of the 2022 edition of ICSSS here.