David Horn (left) and Matt Hewison (right) of CyberWhite

Member Article

Crusading ‘skills for bills’ approach sees County Durham tech firm close on national award

Seaham-based cyber security firm CyberWhite is in the running for a prize at the prestigious UK Social Mobility Awards, which takes place next Thursday (Oct 8th).

Created in 2017, this is the biggest national awards event dedicated to advancing the cause of social mobility in this country. CyberWhite has been nominated in the ‘Small Business of the Year’ category, celebrating smaller firms that are taking their role in promoting social mobility seriously. Because of the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this years’ ceremony is taking place online.

CyberWhite was established in 2018 by information security professionals Matt Hewison (chief operating officer) and David Horn (chief technology officer). They have expanded quickly since then, as companies have adopted more technology to help their staff work from home during the pandemic.

Even though they are running a digital business, they wanted to play a role in their local community, supporting businesses and individuals, particularly young people.

For David Horn, social justice concerns are at the heart of their approach. “The north east has some of the lowest wages in the UK and some of the worst areas for child poverty. This is something that has to change. All businesses operating here, whether they employ 10 or 1,000 people, should be thinking about how they can help support young people into work.”

Prior to lockdown, CyberWhite was regularly giving young people and school leavers first hand experience of the world of work at their office at Seaham. According to David, “Work experience is something we really believe in. Even though we are relatively small, with 7 staff, we opened our doors for three work experience students last year, with the students coming in for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.

“Imagine if bigger firms and public authorities matched that at scale. Something as simple as that would remove lots of the barriers that young people feel, when they should be being welcomed into the workplace”.

On the job training is important as well, with training in work-based skills extending to help them develop verbal, written and listening skills.

David Horn is also a mentor and speaker with both Founders4Schools and Business in the Community, which are charities that help students work through their career choices. Managing Director Matt Hewison is also active locally, coaching several under 13’s football and cricket teams.

CyberWhite is a Living Wage employer. David said: “As a responsible employer, we pay a Living Wage, because staff should be rewarded fairly for the part they play in the business. We call it ‘Skills for bills’ to remind us all of the importance of continually developing our skills. If the young people we are supporting keep on doing that, they’ll have a great chance.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by News Gathering .

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