Organised by the Swindon and Wiltshire Cyber Cluster, the second CyberICE conference, CyberICE 2.0, wowed its audience with an amazing array of speakers and contributors at the event, as well as having plenty of opportunities for discussions and networking amongst the attendees from both cyber and non-cyber businesses, academia, representatives from government and not for profit organisations together with Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), Business Cyber Centre (BCC) and Growth Hub staff.
Held across two floors of the BCC in Chippenham, the event was divided into three zones – Innovation, Collaboration and Education (ICE) – mirroring three of the four aims of the BCC. With ICE to the forefront of everything that the BCC does, the fourth aim is to Empower those involved, which the CyberICE conference also achieved.
The conference was formally opened by Erika Lewis, Director of Cyber Security and Digital Identity from the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT). She shared her vision for the future and the much-needed focus on how we can all work together to help fill the skills gap within the cyber industry.
Wanting to promote the opportunities for young people within cyber and make it accessible, 76 students and staff from 5 educational establishments from the local area attended CyberICE. Within the Education zone, there were plenty of interactive sessions for the Year 10, 11 and 12 students to participate in such as robotics, artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship, Raspberry Pi, as well as one of the original Enigma machines for the students to experience. Whilst the Education zone was created with students in mind, there were plenty of the nearly 200 attendees who had fun trying out the activities as well.
In addition to the activities, students also gained value from attending the panel discussions highlighting career pathways in cyber and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and some of the students also chose to attend talks within the Collaboration and Innovation zones which gave them even greater experiences of the cyber sector.
With 14 speakers across the Collaboration and Innovation zones, attendees got to hear from experts from academia, businesses and representatives from government departments and not for profit organisations. Subjects covered included the expanding cyber ecosystem; the current levels of diversity within cyber; data management; the work being done to help those leaving the armed forces retrain within the cyber sector and some of the current innovations being developed by local companies such as an application helping protect children whilst online; a project which is revolutionising security assurance for businesses and the work that is being done at the Bluewave Innovation Lab operated by Southern Water.
There were offers of help and support for many of the organisations needing help with work placements and opportunities for further engagement and a lively debate regarding apprenticeships and Technical levels during the Q & A panel session towards the end of the day’s events. One member of the panel outlined his very positive experience of undertaking his degree apprenticeship within cyber which gained him an impromptu round of applause from the audience.
In addition to the organised activities on offer, there were also plenty of opportunities available to network and exchange ideas for the cyber and non-cyber businesses attending. One of the main opportunities was during lunch, prepared by the BCC’s café owner, Fran Harvey and his team. Alongside the gorgeous fruit skewers, there were also packets of fudge made by Meg’s Cottage Fudge, based in Bradford on Avon. Why fudge? Because it is obviously imperative that you ‘Don’t fudge cyber’!
To join the Swindon and Wiltshire Cyber Cluster, please click here .