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Downing Street cut advert following criticism that it suggested that a ballet dancer should retrain in cyber-security

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A government-backed advert has been cut, following criticism that it suggested that a ballet dancer should retrain in cyber-security. The advert has subsequently been cut and a No 10 spokesperson has said it was “not appropriate”. 

This ad was one of many in a long-running campaign to promote cyber-security jobs. However, this latest one sparked a considerable social media backlash. The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden criticised it this morning when he stated that it was “crass” but insisted it had not come from his department. He said in a tweet: “I want to save jobs in the arts” as well as underlining that today £1.57bn was being invested in the industry.

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The advert contained a picture of a ballet dancer and was accompanied with the text: “Fatima’s next job could be in cyber (she just doesn’t know it yet). Rethink. Reskill. Reboot”. The advert is attributed to CyberFirst, which is a programme led by the National Cyber Security Centre to encourage young people to undertake a career in tech. 

The Labour shadow mental health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan reacted by saying: “Fatima, you be you. Don’t let anyone else tell you that you aren’t good enough because you don’t conform to their preconceived social norms”. 

A Downing Street source has said: “This was part of a campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to think about career in cyber-security, but this piece of content was not appropriate and has been removed”. 

 

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