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Wales on stage at global cyber skills competition

Cardiff’s Kyle Woodward has just returned from competing in the WorldSkills 2019 ‘Vocational Olympics’ held in Kazan in Russia as a member of the 30-strong Team UK.

Kyle is a member of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster and a student at the National Cyber Security Academy at the University of South Wales. He was competing in the Cyber Security events at WorldSkills, after qualifying by winning the UK National round of the global cyber competition.

The WorldSkills competition is run every two years and hosted by different nations each time, bringing together more than 1,600 young professionals representing more than 60 countries and competing in 56 skills, with over 1,500 experts evaluating their performance.

Kyle said: “It was the best experience of my life so far!  I’ve made contacts all around the world and have found friends that will last a lifetime.  I’ve gained insight into the industry and learnt so much that will help me in my future career.  But above all else I enjoyed every moment of it, and would recommend that if anyone gets the opportunity to compete in WorldSkills, take it and don’t look back!”

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Cyber Wales has become a key global hub in the field of cyber security, a Founding Member of GlobalEPIC the Global Ecosystem of Ecosystems for Partnership and Innovation in Cyber, which includes 27 Cyber Clusters in 18 countries across 6 continents, and next April we host CyberUK at the new International Convention Centre at Celtic Manor.

Aston Martin has located its Global Cyber Security team at Bro Tathan Business Park, and the Endeavour Wales funding scheme is driven by Welsh Government and Airbus.

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John Davies, CEO at Pervade Software and Chair of the South Wales Cyber Security Cluster, said: “Being part of Team UK at WorldSkills is a massive achievement for Kyle, and shows the strength and sense of community of the cyber ecosystem in Wales, with a number of Cluster members offering experience and knowledge training as Kyle prepared to go to Russia. We’ve even set up exchanges for cyber champions with eco system members across the world.”

Claire George, Innovation Superhero at Bridgend College, and IT & Enterprise Sector Champion with the Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales (ISEiW) project, said:

“Kyle is an extremely talented gentleman who I have had the privilege to work with and watch develop into the future Cyber talent for Wales.  I know he’s going to become a WorldSkills ambassador but will also support our efforts in Wales.”

Prominent Welsh cyber companies who proactively supported Kyle’s preparations included Pervade Software and Hashtag Cyber along with the cyber teams from NHW Wales and Welsh Water.  There was also strong involvement from the University of South Wales and Glyndwr University, while the British Army’s Cyber Troop at 53 Signal Squadron of the Royal Corps of Signals in Cardiff hosted a session that included Regular and Reserve cyber specialists.  The SANS Institute, the world’s largest cyber training provider who have their European HQ in Swansea, provided €10,500 worth of training for Kyle on one of their Masterclass courses in Germany, a trip that was co-funded by the Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales project.

Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales is funded by Welsh Government through Apprenticeships which has provided some of the financial support for Kyle’s training to Kazan.

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