Named Cyber University of the year at the National Cyber Awards 2019 earlier this month, the University of South Wales is training the cyber security experts of the future from its Newport campus.

Home to the National Cyber Security Academy, students work with leading technology companies on real-life projects.

Cyber security - along with terrorism, international military crises, major accidents and natural disasters - is seen by the UK Government as one of the four major national security threats facing the country.

Both the government and industry understand the 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.

Several of the region’s cyber security businesses have now located their operations with the university campus as part of a hub known as the ‘Cyber Village’.

Clare Johnson, head of cyber security, said: “The vision for the village is to enable cyber companies to set up their businesses in close proximity to the NCSA. Students are able to work very closely with the types of companies that they may eventually work for, interacting with these companies very early on in their studies.”

Events are organised where the companies spend time with the students, doing workshops and practical activities that relate to their line of business.

Damon Rands, CEO of cyber security consultancy Wolfberry, one of the businesses based at the campus, said: “The industry in which we work moves very quickly, technology is continually evolving, and as a business we must keep up with this change.

“Being part of the Cyber Village in Newport really transforms the way that we as businesses can interact with the students.

“As a company we have always struggled integrating graduates, not because or knowledge but rather the softer skills required in their day-to-day to roles. USW has changed all of that. We work with students on real life projects where they as individuals can have an impact.

“At the end of their course they have the skills that the industry needs and are ready to hit the deck running.”

James John is a graduate of the cyber security course and, thanks to the experiences he gained, is now employed by one of the companies in the Cyber Village.

James, who works for J French Consultants and IDB, which specialise in digital forensics and intelligence management, said: “As a business being part of the cyber community at USW is a great opportunity. Students get to interact with us, see how our business functions and how the theory they learn in the course is implemented in an actual business environment.”