New programme of cyber security training to tackle shortage of expertise

Plan is to roll out courses across the country over coming years

A programme of courses aimed at helping to address the acute shortage of cyber security expertise in Irish industry will be launched in Dublin on Thursday, providing a framework of training that can be rolled out over the coming years.

The Dundalk-based Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE), established by the Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) two years ago, is behind the scheme. It will aim to promote work in and awareness of cyber security to students at school level as well as providing a variety of ways to access training in the area.

About 7,500 are estimated to be working in the area of cyber security in Ireland, with the number projected by industry body Cyber Ireland to more than double to 17,000 by 2030. Workers with expertise in the area are in high demand, recruitment firm Morgan McKinley says.

The Cyber for Advanced Manufacturing Ireland range of programmes is to be launched at Buswells Hotel in Dublin by Minister of State with responsibility for eGovernment Ossian Smyth, LMETB chief executive Martin O’Brien and founder of AMTCE, independent Senator Gerard Craughwell. The ambassador of Estonia, Kairi Kunka, is also due to attend. The country has provided support to the development of the programme, which is funded by Solas and Enterprise Ireland.


Its objectives are to “increase cyber security skills, public awareness, support job creation and the indigenous cyber security industry”. Organisers say Ireland can become “a global cyber security leader”.

However, many companies need to first address existing shortages of expertise to deal with the increased threat of systems hacks caused by growing connectivity. They point to events at the HSE as an example of how badly things can go wrong but say most cyber crime is more low key.

“In order to get data, you must connect everything,” says Michael McGrath, technical director at AMTCE, “and once you connect a piece of equipment, or a plant, then you create an opportunity for a cyberattack that can negatively impact your business operations.”

“The vast majority of firms we have looked at have already been hacked with usernames, passwords, all sorts of stuff available online but because they haven’t seen obvious evidence of it they don’t even know they have been hacked,” says Adrian Kelly, the organisation’s operations manager.

Mr O’Brien said “training has a key role to play” in addressing the situation and had prompted the ETB and AMTCE, which is based at the Xerox business campus in Dundalk, to develop the programmes.

The funding already secured will, it is said, allow those looking to access courses to participate “at little or no cost”. Mr O’Brien said the hope was that LMETB would develop and pilot the programmes that then could be “rolled out by some or all of the other ETBs across the country”.

The courses are to be aimed at a range of people, including existing employees looking to upskill in the area of cyber security and unemployed people who wish to acquire skills in considerable demand. The courses are due to start in September. Details are available at

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times