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Switching careers: from teaching to security

Find out from Coreena what it is like to change careers and join DWP security and data protection 

Moving from teaching to security & data protection has been the best career decision I’ve ever made. If I can do it, so can you.

Coming from a teaching background, having a career in security is something I had never considered. It sounded like something I would have to have been doing forever and require deep technical expertise. And while technical knowledge is certainly an aspect of many roles, it is only part of the picture. The security profession recognises that critical core skills are just as important as technical skills.

This was reflected in the way that I was recruited. I came into the Security Profession through the Security Academy, a boot camp style talent scheme which focused on core skills, behaviours and strengths, relative professional experience, and ability rather than technical knowledge. People who can, for example, clearly explain technical content to non-technical audiences.

Coreena Darby

Senior Security Profession Capability Manager

My Career

My career up to now has been varied and the different roles, at first glance, seemingly have very little in common, but I found the Security Academy appreciated the core skills I had spent years developing. My previous jobs include childcare, teaching and the charity sector, which all demand someone with a commitment to personal and professional development, strong interpersonal skills, who is comfortable working in a changing environment and makes effective decisions. And it is these skills, among many others, which are valued in the Security Profession.

Once recruited, I quickly developed a broad baseline of security knowledge and experience through a programme of targeted technical training, augmented by coaching, mentoring and experiential learning. I was then deployed into a permanent role where I planned and delivered awareness projects to help keep DWP protected against risks to services, information, premises, customers and colleagues. It was a great introduction to the Security Profession where I was trusted to solve complex problems and deliver outcomes right from the start.

From there, I moved on promotion to work as part of the team who manage and deliver the Security Academy, facilitate a range of talent schemes, and procure learning and development for the security community. After leaving teaching, one of my concerns was finding something where I felt I was making a valuable contribution and I can say with certainty that the Security Profession offers tangible ways to make a difference.

Security and Data Protection Careers at DWP

Department for Work and Pensions