Growing up in the UK, Leighton spent a lot of his time in uniformed organisations including the Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and various Cadets. As soon as he was old enough, he joined the Metropolitan Police. After a few years on the force, Leighton longed for more adventure, signing up as a Riflemen in the Royal Green Jackets.
During his time in the Army, Leighton qualified as a Marksman and served on several tours over five years, before being medically discharged in 2009.
One day while scrolling through his Facebook feed, Leighton came across a post about WithYouWithMe and was excited to discover that with a few free aptitude assessments – and his military background – he might be able to secure a role in cyber security.
Leighton was working in delivery for Amazon while undertaking some basic IT qualifications. He had been told by other recruiters in the tech sector that someone like him with a non-technical background would have to work in general IT for up to two years before he could even consider a role with cyber in the title.
“This inherited belief that someone with a non-technical background couldn’t learn cyber without years of experience was very disempowering. Fortunately for me, those recruiters were wrong,” explains Leighton.
Despite being sceptical of WithYouWithMe at first, Leighton signed up for Potential, completed his psychometric and aptitude testing, and from there, he never looked back.
“I was contacted by Tim and Laura at WithYouWithMe to discuss my skills report. The aptitude testing showed that I was well suited to a role in cyber, so I entered the cyber pathway.”
The cyber pathway covers a range of subjects from the basics of IT networking and Open-Source Intelligence to ‘red-teaming’ using Metasploit and Kali Linux. While completing the cyber pathway, Leighton also entered Consulting Fundamentals, a course that teaches valuable soft skills for consulting roles.
“The variety of courses on offer is fantastic and within a couple of months I had the foundation needed to move into a new role with confidence,” he adds.
An opportunity to enter the world of cyber
While in training, Leighton was encouraged to sign up for a Job Accelerator event that WithYouWIthMe was hosting with Leonardo.
Off the back of the event, Leighton secured an interview with their Head of HR and within days was offered a role as a Senior Cyber Security Consultant working within the Cyber & Security Business.
This new role has afforded him the invaluable opportunity to work on fascinating projects in the defence space and continue building his skills across all areas of cyber.
“The level to which Leonardo invests in your training and development is incredible. It’s so refreshing to see a company that recognises the more skills, knowledge and experience a person has, the more value they can bring to the company – and then act on that principle.”
Supporting defence through cyber security
In the future, Leighton is determined to learn as much as he can and find an area to specialise in so he can deliver value back to the business. Once confident in his role, he is also eager to give back to others who are new to the field, just as opportunities to learn were given to him.
“Given the vital role that Leonardo plays in the defence of the UK and our allies, the chance to give back, and support others in learning these skills holds great meaning for me. In the cyber world where there’s such a shortage of experts to meet the rapidly increasing need – the sky really is the limit!”