Work Experience 2022

They say “it takes a village to raise a child.” We say “it takes a community to inspire a young person.” No truer word was said as CyNam took on a work experience student for the first time! We were delighted to be joined by Callum from Barnwood Park School.


As a hybrid and tiny team of five people, we knew it would be a challenge conveying the breadth of our industry in just five days, heavy workloads, as well as ensuring the experience was as fulfilling as possible for the student (ahhhh, ok – maybe ourselves too!).


So, we designed a timetable of activities to do over the five days. As well as this, we reached out our community to see where they could help spend time with a student, talk about what they do and (hopefully) inspire them to consider a future in cyber and technology.


So, what did we get up to with our community?


  • Talking all things pen testing with Chris from Synack
  • Discussing the evolution of a developing investment community with Abby Taylor
  • Dan Humphries from Sopra Steria shared his journey into IT 
  • What makes a kick-ass community spirit with the team at Hub8 – huge shout outs to Cam, Tom and the Hub8 team.
  • Meeting successful tech entrepreneurs like Martyn Gill from ORNA Inc


But it has to be said, our favourite day was spent at the Infrastar offices in Gloucester, where Glenn Griffin and his team very generously gave up a whole day of their time to spend with us (and fed us cakes and gave us loads of merch!). We watched a network scanning software run through the office networks and we infiltrated a printer and printed off a smiley face – y’know – just for fun! 


Finally, Glenn arranged for an intro to astrophysicist Rob from Braided Communications who has developed a new communication based on deep space communication tools for astronauts, which he demoed.


Our community were brilliant in coming together to support Callum, and we can’t thank all the organisations that helped us enough. If you would like to support an enthusiastic student, please get in touch with us!

But, don’t just take the great feedback from us. Here’s Callum’s feedback about his work experience week:






Over 25 schools in the South West register to become an NCSC CyberFirst School. 

The CyberFirst Schools initiative, from  the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)  – a part of GCHQ – was in full swing this month, as members of the delivery consortium headed into key events to showcase the benefits of joining the programme to computer science teachers across the South West. 

The consortium, made of Raytheon, Tech Spark, The South West Cyber Security Cluster and CyNam, attended the Festival of Computer Science in Plymouth and set up industry and schools engagement events in Bristol and Gloucestershire to collect Expressions of Interest from schools and industry partners in the region. 

Over 25 schools across the South West have now registered their interest in applying for the CyberFirst Schools programme, which officially recognises schools and colleges that demonstrate first-rate cyber security education. If they are all successful in their applications, this will more than double the number of   CyberFirst schools and colleges in the South West looking to bolster their computer science curriculums, teaching and student experiences. Successful schools will also enjoy continuous professional development for teachers, as well as a series of bespoke activities for students tailored to each school’s needs – created by industry partners and  supported by a team of CyberFirst ambassadors. 

Following an initial pilot in Gloucestershire, the CyberFirst Schools initiative was launched by the NCSC in 2020 to encourage collaboration between local schools, the NCSC, national and local companies and organisations who share the aim of encouraging young people to engage with computer science and the application of cyber security in everyday technology. 

 In 2021 it was further extended to include secondary schools and colleges in Northern Ireland, the South West of England (Dorset, Cornwall Devon, Somerset & Wiltshire) and the North East of England (Durham, Tyne & Wear, Northumberland). 

The South West consortium have been awarded the pilot contract for delivering the CyberFirst Schools initiative in the South West of England. 

On behalf of the NCSC, they will manage the assessment and evaluation of CyberFirst School applications; the growth of the CyberFirst Schools community in the area, and help facilitate engagement between industry and schools in the region to enable e-mentoring and work experience. 

A special mention must be made to the CyberFirst Schools volunteers, who have been recently supporting the consortium and who are responsible for driving the CyberFirst Schools programme for the last few years. Without the efforts of the CyberFirst Ambassadors, and specifically the expertise of Rebekkah Bishop (kindly volunteering on behalf of organisation CACI). This collaboration has given real momentum to the project and we are looking forward to making some real impact in furthering cyber education throughout 2022.


CyNam Strategy 2022 and Beyond.

As a community impact organisation, it’s of the utmost importance to us to share with our community the activities and initiatives that we intend to embark on for the near future.
That’s why we have the pleasure of sharing with you our strategic objectives for the next three years.

We have created these objectives over the past three months, based on feedback from community stakeholders from across the breadth of the ecosystem, the guiding principles of UKC3, the Local Industrial Strategy and the National Cyber Strategy.

We hope we have identified and prioritised what matters most to this community and what collectively we must do to attempt to solve the challenges in the cyber/tech sector in Gloucestershire and beyond to ensure a prosperous and safe future for all.

In the strategy, you can see a non-exhaustive list of initiatives that we intend to pursue to achieve the objectives and what it may cost to execute them. As a non-profit organisation we hope to raise funds from our continued project and pilot work, as well as generous donations from sponsors who wish to pay an active role in achieving these objectives.

Read the strategy here

The CyNam Team

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Inspirational Apprentices Announced!

CyNam’s Inspirational Apprentice List 2022 

There’s nothing we love more here at CyNam than celebrating community success stories! 

To help celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2022, we put a call to action out to our community asking for nominations for inspirational apprentices studying in the cyber/tech field in Gloucestershire. We we’re blown away by the quality of the nominations and delighted to see so much apprentice talent in the region. 

Below is a full list of the apprentices nominated featuring fantastic testimonials from employers and the apprentices themselves!

Congratulations to all nominees. We’re delighted to help showcase your talent and efforts. 

Nicander White, Atkins: 

Nicander is absolutely exceptional. He gets fully stuck into all of the opportunities that we send his way, demonstrating all of our Atkins values flawlessly whilst also being an active STEM ambassador, engaging with local schools to encourage more local young people to take up STEM related careers. He is constantly learning new skills through his degree programme and bringing fresh perspectives to our meetings and projects. So much so, we forget he is actually an ‘apprentice’! 

Taylor Watson, Cyber Security Associates: 

Taylor has always demonstrated a lot of potential for growth and I believe he has the drive to succeed at anything he sets his mind to. He continuously chases excellence which is further evidenced by his impeccable academic record and the industry certifications he has acquired. In recent years he’s also taken a more proactive role in mentoring and teaching individuals, sharing knowledge and helping anyone who asks with their cybersecurity education and general technological safety regardless of their current understanding. I am proud to nominate Taylor on the basis of his hard work, friendly demeanor and for his future growth. 

Tyler Campbell, Hub8: 

Since Tyler has joined Hub8 he has been an instrumental part of the team. He goes above and beyond to provide support to the hub8 team as well as with our customers, consistently getting positive feedback from our members. He has shown huge amounts of self-motivation quickly taking over increasingly important tasks such as invoicing as well as playing a key role in the implementation of an entirely new back-end system. 

Andrew Carr, University of Gloucestershire: 

Andrew Carr has been studying for a BSc (Hons) in Cyber Security at the University of Gloucestershire, as an apprentice since September 2019. Andrew is no stranger to learning while working as he has achieved various industry qualifications in his own time since he started working in IT. Andrew is also the Course Representative and regularly discuss aspects of the course with the academic staff. 

Natalia Tarnawa, Hub8: 

Natalia has been an absolute pleasure to work with and mentor. She has always jumped on any task given to her with a smile and has added value to Hub8 and the team in many ways. We often get comments from our members complimenting her exceptional customer service, professionalism, and friendliness. Natalia really does make my job as mentor easy, and she has even taught me some new things! 

Obi Newman, ORNA: 

Obi’s work ethic and professionalism on such young shoulders has exceeded expectation, quickly becoming a valued member of the ORNA team. As such, we firmly believe that Obi is truly an inspirational apprentice for his peers and those starting their apprenticeship journey and look forward to continuing our working relationship with him.

Dan Humphries, Sopra Steria: 

My apprenticeship with Sopra Steria has been one of the best opportunities I’ve had and I’m extremely grateful to everyone involved. I have learned so much over the programme and I’m looking forward to integrating myself into my account once the apprenticeship is complete. My hope is that I will be able to bring everything I have learned and experienced to make a real difference in the workplace, becoming an asset to my account at Sopra Steria. 

Cameron Carter, Hub8: 

Having only entering the cyber industry less than a year ago, Cameron has already made a huge impact to his companies online marketing platforms and the people around him. Cameron joined the Hub8 team as a Marketing apprentice in mid-2021 and has been keen to learn from day 1. Cam is brilliantly self-sufficient and always thinks of an outcome before asking questions, a proactive and productive approach to learning! 

Charlotte, Coacto: 

Charlotte thrives to emit a positive energy in both her professional and personal life and it has been highly recognised within our team. Since joining the team in April 2021, Charlotte has remained enthusiastic throughout, never falling short for projects that she may be working on to grow her blossoming skillset. As a young adult stepping into the technology industry with no specific experience, Charlotte has shown incredible willingness to learn and utilises the resources available to feed her hunger for knowledge. She is an incredible asset to the team. 

Alexander Cameron, University of Gloucestershire: 

Throughout the degree apprenticeship Alexander Cameron has worked closely between the University of Gloucestershire and Leonardo, balancing his time between a combination of integrated study and work within the Defence and Cyber sectors. 

Jonathan Brindley, Sopra Steria: 

Jonathan’s success is driven by an obvious passion for helping everyone from colleagues to customers and is underpinned by the way he continually stretches his development, taking on complex tasks and demonstrating his talent for translating theoretical knowledge into practical solutions. Jonathan has attracted a company award for his work on an IT transformation project for the NHS and has achieved promotio

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Martyn Gill named as finalist in Ex-British Forces Business Awards.

Good news!

Co-founder of our strategic cyber risk management partner, Wembley Partners and co-founder of the newly incorporated ORNA Inc. Martyn Gill has been named a finalist at next month’s Ex-British Forces Business Awards in the Entrepreneur of the Year category.

With over 15 years as a cyber intelligence professional, leading teams in delivering technical solutions to mission critical projects across defence, government and other Critical National Infrastructure sectors for BAE Systems AI, Deloitte and GCHQ.

Martyn co-founded Wembley Partners in 2019 specialising in intelligence-led cyber security solutions for Small and Medium businesses, which has seen the development of the world first dedicated cyber incident management SaaS platform and cyber-tech company, ORNA Inc. Martyn served for 12 years as a Electronic Warfare operator, deploying on multiple operations to Afghanistan and supported the development of UK UAV operations at NSA Georgia.

Great to see ex-service personnel and CyNam members being recognised for the fantastic work they have done and are doing.

Good luck Martyn!

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Bamboo Technology join CyNam as Digital Transformation Partner

CyNam are delighted to announce a brand new sponsor – Bamboo Technology will be joining us as Digital Transformation Partner.

Lorrin White of Bamboo Technology quotes:

– “Bamboos mission, as a connectivity, IT and software solutions provider is to shape and develop business futures by realising the full potential of ICT. Cynam is helping to make Cheltenham the cyber hub of the UK and the partnership with Bamboo helps to promote and educate relevant and resilient businesses transformation in a digital landscape that continues to evolve. The teams share an ethos of networking, innovating and collaborating to instil best practice into customer and county and we look forward to sharing talent, culture and community to continually improve our positions and future prospects.”

Richard Yorke, Managing Director of CyNam says:

“We’re delighted to announce Bamboo Technology Group Ltd as CyNam’s Digital Transformation partner. Successful digital transformation (DTX) is underpinned by good #cybersecurity and we are keen to develop the ecosystem to include more organisations with #DTX at the heart of their business wanting to tap into the wealth of cyber expertise the CyNam community offer. As a locally based company leading the way with #thoughtleadership on both fronts, our partnership with Bamboo will enable us to engage the DTX community and drive growth for the cyber sector.”


CyNam explores Critical National Infrastructure in their first ever hybrid event

CyNam’s final event of the year, “CyNam 21.3-Keeping the Lights on: Building Resilience into our Critical National Infrastructure” takes place on 21st October 2021.

The line up features the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Plexal, Microfocus, CACI, the current NCSC for start-ups cohort and local Gloucestershire schools.

CyNam 21.3 will be the organisation’s first-ever hybrid event, allowing attendees to network and learn in person or virtually.

CyNam, Cheltenham’s cyber cluster, will host their final live showcase of the year, “CyNam 21.3-Keeping the Lights on: Building Resilience into our Critical National Infrastructure”, on 21st October 2021. The line up brings together cyber experts from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), CGI, Sopra Steria, Deloitte, De Montford University, University of Bristol, Reef Group, Hub8, Plexal, Micro focus and CACI to explore how the industry is taking steps to make the UK the safest place to live and work online. Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, CyNam 21.3 marks the organisation’s first-ever hybrid event, with a physical venue to be announced soon.

The House of Commons Committees’ recognises that there is a real possibility of a major cyber attack targeting the UK and it is considered a top-tier threat to the country. As a result, the event will explore how cyber innovation can protect the assets that allow our daily lives to continue as normal. CyNam 21.3 will make this insight accessible for all, including students, academics, those working in critical national infrastructure and anyone with an interest in cyber security.

Alongside the current line up, attendees can expect the biggest names in cyber security, with previous events featuring IBM, Microsoft and Ladies of Cheltenham Hacking Society. The last CyNam event in June 2021 saw over 1,000 attendees tuning in from across the globe, making it the organisation’s most successful conference to date.

Richard Yorke, Director at CyNam, said:

“Critical National Infrastructure and cyber security have become more entwined in recent times with hackers now able to bring down national economies and emergency services. In order for the UK to retain its position as a leader in cyber security, we must do more to improve our cyber resilience to prevent a major incident from occurring. Our latest event will help attendees to understand the role that we all have in making sure that our services and people remain safe from harm.”

Registration for the October showcase is now open, with the two-hour conference taking place from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm BST.

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Rebellion Defence join CyNam as Defence Sector Sponsor

It’s with great pleasure that we announce Rebellion Defence as our Defence Sector Sponsor.

Rebellion Defence joins CyNam to provide their expertise and commentary as an industry partner, specifically targeting the defence sector and the cyber security issues that face that sector. Rebellion Defence have recently become an active member of the CyNam community and we are looking forward to providing thought leadership articles and content, as well as contribution to forthcoming CyNam events.

Oliver Lewis, Rebellion Defence Founder commented:

“Rebellion is excited to partner with CyNam and support the growth of the UK’s highly collaborative cybersecurity ecosystem. CyNam’s ability to act as a neutral convener bringing together industry, government and academia provides a great platform to exchange ideas, grow the talent of tomorrow and champion the delivery of responsible cyber technologies that defend our democratic values”

Richard Yorke, Managing Director of CyNam:

“We’re very pleased to announce support from Rebellion Defence as CyNam’s Defence Sector sponsor. Rebellion share our vision of a collaborative cyber security ecosystem and as a fast-growing, values-driven company offering cutting edge cyber-tech solutions, we very much look forward to them sharing valuable insights with the community on cyber-tech through the lens of defence and national security”

Rebellion Defence take an unconventional approach to defence technology by self-funding product development—customers only pay for the value they receive. Their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model ensures customers gain measurable results on day one and gain incredible new product features over time through iterative development and user-centered design.

Learn more about Rebellion Defence here.

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Sopra Steria announced as CyNam Silver Sponsor 2021/22

Sopra Steria and CyNam announce a new strategic partnership for 2021/22

Sustainability is at the heart of everything Sopra Steria and CyNam value and do, with both organisations committed to values-driven business practices and making positive impact on the economy, society and the environment.

Sopra Steria’s support will help to further CyNam’s cyber skills and growth objectives, both funding a new role to invest in Gloucestershire’s skills development and providing a platform to promote the value of apprenticeship programmes to its cyber community.

As well as supporting CyNam’s mission to nurture local talent, Sopra Steria will play a central role in CyNam’s landmark October event, hold its own roundtable session for the community and jointly produce thought leadership content to benefit the cyber technology ecosystem in Gloucestershire and beyond.

Sue-Ellen Wright, Managing Director of Sopra Steria’s Aerospace, Defence and Security business, commented: “CyNam’s promotion of home-grown cyber talent is a really important endeavour that we wholeheartedly champion at Sopra Steria through our UK talent programmes. We look forward to supporting CyNam’s mission, which ultimately serves to benefit our communities and protect our national interest.”

Madeline Howard, Chair and Director of CyNam, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted Sopra Steria are continuing to support CyNam. They have been excellent partner for the last few years in supporting our strategic initiatives and have enabled us to do some great work for our community. We’re excited to be continuing our journey together and are looking forward to see what we can achieve.”

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A day in the life of…… A CGI Escape Room Gamesmaster!

Written by Katie Roden

People are excellent at talking. We talk about all sorts of things all the time. When it comes to important decisions, we spend hours deliberating and working out pros and cons. Communication is vital, but we run out of time to take action if we spend too long talking. This is often the case for topics of the utmost importance. As an industry, we frequently discuss education and how we are inducting the next generation of potential candidates into STEM and Cyber. We all know a delta between the number of candidates available and the sheer volume of roles our industry advertises. So, naturally, we talk about it. It’s an important topic, so why wouldn’t we? But, what are we doing to tackle this challenge?

CGI created Cyber Escape to help employees, schools, clients and anyone else who wanted to give it a try understand potential cyber security risks. The aim was to create a fun and engaging way of learning.

There were four key focus areas for the escape room:

• Phishing

• Physical Security

• Social Media

• Attack Mitigation

Just as the Cheltenham Science Festival was in full swing, the CGI Escape Room landed at All Saints Academy. This was the inaugural excursion from its home of Chippenham. We were excited to get groups through it to put it to the test and see the value it could offer. Don’t worry, I’m not going to detail the challenges and what tasks are in the escape room. That would spoil the fun! But, the aim is to escape within 60 minutes

As one of the games masters (GM) facilitating, I was there multiple times a week throughout its visit. The role of the GM was to introduce the groups to challenge, set the scene, watch the groups and offer support if they hit major blockers and debrief the group at the end of the session. After each run was complete, GMs had to reset everything and, because of the joy that is COVID-19, clean EVERYTHING. All so this could be repeated for the next group.

The first week was an unprecedented heatwave in the UK, and with the escape room being in a metal shipping container, this led to some unforeseen challenges that added to the GM role. We needed to ensure that the escape room didn’t get too hot (strategic fans everywhere), we set up a shaded area for the introduction and debrief to allow groups to get some respite for the sun, we learned that locks and keys could sometimes get a lot harder to turn when the metal in the mechanism has slightly expanded due to the heat. But what is a live performance without a few teething problems, and luckily, Great British Summertime being what it is, we soon returned to the cooler, rainier climate that we’re all used to, and all those problems went away.

I have to say that it was hard not to get caught up in the game aspect. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience, and I found it great to see how the different groups adapted to the different learning environments. For example, it seemed that student groups approached the tasks very differently from the adult groups. Team dynamics changed with the tasks; some natural leaders are demonstrating their skills for delegation while other self-organising teams used utterly different communication styles. We had groups who were already heavily embedded in STEM subjects and some novices who were giving it a go. Groups of 5 (the max for COVID compliance), groups of 3 or 4, teachers, students, adults, clients, friends; I don’t think any two groups tackled the escape room in the same way. All of this was truly fascinating to watch.

After each run-through, we debriefed participants and emphasised the challenges focused on and how they connected to the key learning outcomes. This quickly and naturally transitioned into questions about Cyber and our roles within the industry. And oh boy, did we get questions! We also got so much feedback. All Saints Academy teachers told us that school students were contacting them asking how they could go on the escape room. There were discussions in the playground about which team got the higher score or which teams escaped and which didn’t. The teachers were booking some of the after school sessions because they didn’t want the kids to have all the fun! Some non-school bookings were made as a result of groups hearing about other groups doing it and wanting to have a go. People were talking about the CGI who had never previously heard of us.

I started this piece by highlighting we talk a lot – that’s not a bad thing. Now, we need to start doing more. Together! If the CGI Cyber Escape demonstrates anything, its shows that the way we engage matters! To get this many questions from an hour activity, imagine what we could do if we, as an industry, contributed similar ideas to the curriculum or engaged with the public less abstractly.

CyNam, CyberFirst, UKC3, the Golden Valley Development and Cheltenham Science Festival are fantastic platforms for coming together and solving problems. We could address the recruitment and talent crisis we see in our industry. We could address real-life challenges that people experience daily. We could do something completely new and different. But…
In order to do any of this, we have to change the way we think about these problems and work together to resolve them.

4 weeks, 63 school groups, 28 adult groups, 1 CGI Cyber Escape and a new way of thinking moving forwards?