European Cyber Agora addresses current cybersecurity challenges

Youth IGF
Youth IGF Informs
Published in
4 min readApr 27, 2023

New EU Cybersecurity Skills Academy will help bridge cybersecurity skills gap

On 25–26 April 2023, the Youth IGF took part in the European Cyber Agora, organised by Microsoft EU. The European Cyber Agora is multi-stakeholder space where experts address current cybersecurity challenges: an exciting event for cybersecurity enthusiasts and professionals alike!

The key event at the European Cyber Agora for us was the presentation of the EU Cybersecurity Skills Academy by Despina Spanou, Head of Cabinet for Vice President Margaritis Schinas at the European Commission. Highlighting the European Commission’s commitment to strengthening the cyber skills of EU citizens, Schinas presented the EU Cybersecurity Skills Academy as a one-stop-shop that will serve as a hub for initiatives covering a whole range of functions, from education to career building.

Despina Spanou, Head of Cabinet for Vice President Margaritis Schinas, European Commission. Photo by Youth IGF

By offering such comprehensive resources, the EU Cybersecurity Skills Academy aims to bridge the existing skills gap in the cybersecurity sector and contribute to a safer digital environment for all European citizens.

The Youth IGF is more than happy to hear this, as we have maintained a steadfast commitment to cybersecurity issues for a long time now, with our efforts ultimately resulting in the creation of the European Cybersecurity Skills Summit in 2021.

The European market for cybersecurity professionals is facing a worrying challenge, according to a recent report from Edward Parsons, regional director for the UK and Europe at the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, commonly known as (ISC)². Parsons, who was also present at the European Cyber Agora, says the current pool of cybersecurity professionals across Europe is unable to cope with the increasing demand. In fact, he estimates that there are an alarming 3.4 million unfilled positions across the continent.

Edward Parsons, Region Director UK and Europe, (ISC)². Photo by Youth IGF

Clearly, the European market is in need of extra personnel in the cybersecurity industry. But this shortage is also growing faster than supply; a significant challenge when it comes to ensuring the safety of the continent’s web-based infrastructure.

The need to bridge the gap in the cybersecurity workforce has become an increasingly important matter in recent years, as states have become more aware of the potential threats posed by attackers at home and abroad. With this in mind, governments, industrial organisations and educational institutions have all been looking for ways to fill the void.

Suzanne Rijnbergen, Managing Director Cyber Resilience Gallia at Accenture, said at the event that there should not be competition at the level of cybersecurity skills development. “In today’s interconnected world, cyber threats pose a significant risk to businesses, governments, and individuals alike. It is essential for private companies, regardless of their competitive nature, to collaborate and share knowledge in order to improve the overall state of cybersecurity”, she said.

Suzanne Rijnbergen, Managing Director, Cyber Resilience, Accenture. Photo by Youth IGF

In addition, fostering cooperation on the development of cybersecurity skills can help address the global shortage of cyber talent. In conclusion, while competition can drive innovation and growth in many areas, cybersecurity skills development is an area where collaboration should be prioritised. Crucially, by working together with youth representatives, private companies can create a more secure digital landscape and better protect themselves and their customers from cyber threats.

The younger generation stands firmly for the promotion of cybersecurity skills to close the cyber skills gap in Europe. In 2021 the Youth IGF issued recommendations on policy and development to help accelerate the process, including EU cybersecurity skills curricular guidance, a common EU certification for cyber skills training modules, and better public-private-youth dialogues on cybersecurity topics in the EU. Most importantly, the industry has to recognise upskilling initiatives that will focus on cross-sectoral cyber skills. These and other actions will complement existing proposals made by the EU in the cyber skills field and contribute significantly to bridging the skills gap.

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Youth IGF
Youth IGF Informs

Young leaders about policies & governance. Focus on online safety, cybersec skills, online fakes & all the hottest internet issues. Founder Yuliya Morenets