IT sector skills council e-Skills UK and certification body CREST have launched the e-skills Professional Placement programme to train school leavers and university students in the skills necessary for a role in IT security.
"No one would argue that we need to attract more good people into information assurance," said Ian Glover, president of CREST (The Council for Registered Ethical Security Testers).
"Given the changes in the UK workforce we will be competing with all other engineering disciplines and must position the information security industry as a career of choice. Our new professional placement initiative aims to encourage and train more people in information security and start to alleviate the current and future skills problem," he continued.
Young people who are chosen for the programme will receive structured training and development. Companies can already offer positions through the placement, for up to 15 months, although shorter placements of three months will be available too.
Some 50 universities are participating in the scheme and businesses can shortlist universities and specify the type of candidate that they require.
"If we can encourage the brightest young people into our industry and show that there are companies willing to support them during their early careers, I am confident we can increase the take-up of information assurance as a profession," said Janet Richards, director in higher education programmes at e-Skills UK.
CREST has encouraged its member companies to take part in the programme and benefit from raising their profile among universities and graduates and by gaining potential employees.
Students who take part in the programme will benefit from an employer-endorsed scheme and could receive a university/employer endorsed certificate at the end.