BCS has launched a pilot programme to certify information assurance professionals on the back of a contract with the UK's GCHQ spying centre.

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, is working with information assurance (IA) specialists from across government to pilot its new BCS CESG Certified Professional scheme. 

The scheme fulfils a contract secured earlier this year by BCS from CESG, the IA arm of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the UK’s National Technical Authority for Information Assurance.

The full scheme, which is due to launch on January 2012, will focus on developing and delivering an IA Specialist Certification Scheme for anyone working in any government department or those working on government contracts. It will certify IA specialists against specific IA roles and skills aligned to the competency framework Skills for the Information Age (SFIA) and BCS’ SFIAplus. 

David Clarke, BCS CEO, said: "Having won the contract in September, we’re now starting a pilot stage to ensure that our processes allow information assurance specialists to achieve the grade of certification they need to work on government projects.”

The scheme will offer three levels of certification - practitioner, senior practitioner and lead practitioner - and cover six roles identified by CESG within IA, including: security and information risk advisor, security architect, accreditor, IA auditor, IT security officer and communications security officer (ComSo).

(ISC)2, the not-for-profit information security professional body, recently launched a new scholarship programme for women. The aim of the programme is to encourage women from around the world, including the UK, to undertake study in information security and eventually pursue a career in the industry.