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Lockheed Martin backs UK cyber-training initiative

FILE PHOTO - A RAF Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter jet taxis along a runway after landing at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, Britain July 8, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The British arm of U.S. defense major Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) said on Friday it would back a UK government initiative to train students in cyber security to combat a growing skills gap in the area.

Through the UK government's CyberFirst initiative, Lockheed Martin will sponsor a number of students across a three-year period and provide them with work placements during their studies.

"There's an emerging cyber skills gap and it's vital that this gap is addressed," said Peter Ruddock, chief executive of Lockheed Martin UK.

"Supporting CyberFirst will become an integral part of our work to maintain Britain's cyber defenses ..."

Launched in May 2016, CyberFirst is a work-study program in online security targeted at students who are about to start university or are in their first year and run by the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

Earlier on Friday, a parliamentary report said the British government is taking too long to consolidate co-ordinate an "alphabet soup" of agencies tasked with information protection.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; editing by Stephen Addison)