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Ensign unveils cybersecurity employment scheme for individuals with autism

Cybersecurity vendor inks partnership with Singapore's Autism Resource Centre to roll out an employment programme designed for individuals on the autism spectrum, catering to their cognitive strengths.
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Written by Eileen Yu, Contributor on

Ensign InfoSecurity has inked a partnership with Singapore's Autism Resource Centre (ARC) to roll out an employment scheme designed for individuals on the spectrum. The programme, which has led to three hires, caters to these professionals' specific cognitive strengths, such as pattern-recognising skills and the ability to grasp spatial concepts.

The collaboration aimed to create career opportunities by identifying and training suitable individuals for the industry, said the cybersecurity vendor in a statement Friday. 

Established in 2000, ARC is a not-for-profit charity that focuses on supporting children and adults on the autism spectrum. It provides various services such as an early intervention programme as well as operates autism-focused Pathlight School, two social enterprises, and Employability & Employment Centre. 

It worked with Ensign to design the employment programme for neurodiverse professionals with cognitive strengths, including analytical, 3D visualisation, and extended focus capabilities. Such skills made these individuals a "natural fit" for cybersecurity roles, said Ensign, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of local telco StarHub and state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings. 

Three hires already had undergone a training curriculum that encompassed IT basics, networking, and cybersecurity fundamentals. In addition, these individuals received specialised training that included operations managed by Security Operations Centre (SOC) and were taught how to handle attack vectors.  

Ensign has employed these individuals as SOC analysts, one of whom is associate SOC analyst Daryl Loh. Expressing his support for the programme, Loh said now was able to monitor and analyse security threats, as well as advise his clients when relevant alerts surfaced.

Ensign said it was targeting to hire up to 16 neurodiverse individuals a year, running the training programme up to four times annually. 

The security vendor added that it hoped to have such employees account for 2% to 3% of its total workforce. It also rolled out an "structured" strategy across its organisation to help these individuals acclimatise and integrate with their colleagues. 

ARC's executive director Jacelyn Lim said: "We hope this [programme] may become a blueprint for companies in the technology and cybersecurity sectors to harness the potential of these individuals in employment."

Ensign's CIO and executive vice president of managed security services Steven Ng said: "We are confident our neurodiverse employees will introduce new thinking and fresh ideas to help us evolve our strategies, services, and solutions. We are also elevating our capabilities by hiring mid-career professionals from other industries and encouraging more female cyber talents to join the sector. This is part of our strategy to ensure we have the capabilities to constantly innovate and stay ahead of emerging cyber threats.

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