'Fatima could keep the job she loves:' the Cyberfirst Rethink Reboot Reskill advert that's caused outrage

The Government's ballet dancer focused advertising campaign has caused more than just a stir, as the backlash over its controversial nature has led to it being removed by Downing Street.

(Image credit: PA)

Celebrities and members of the arts community are just some of the people who refused to be silenced over the Government's recruitment drive vision.

The Government's controversial Cyberfirst Rethink Reboot Retrain poster featuring ballet dancer Fatima has been removed after 10 Downing Street agreed it "wasn't appropriate".

Amid the global health pandemic, no job is 100 per cent safe. And as the country braces itself for a new three-tiered lockdown system, people's businesses and career aspirations face many more months of uncertainty.

But while businesses such as hospitality, retail and beauty have been able to reopen, the arts sector hasn't - with many of its workers feeling neglected and unable to sleep.

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The final of Britain's Got Talent last weekend saw West End performers come together to perform hits from Mary Poppins, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. Their aim was to raise awareness that people who work in the arts haven't stepped foot on a stage since they closed in March following the Coronavirus lockdown.

So it comes as no surprise that after a Government backed advert from around a year ago resurfaced, featuring a young ballet dancer and the campaign slogan, with the words 'Fatima's next job could be in cyber (she just doesn't know it yet). Rethink. Reskill. Reboot,' has been met with criticism.

Why has the Cyberfirst advert caused upset?

BGT judge Ashley Banjo took to Instagram to vent his frustrations. He wrote, 'It might not be recent but it absolutely echoes the sentiment that has been voiced recently.... And seeing it like this is visual form makes me feel so sad man. The arts have been my life and have literally saved so many of my teams from a completely different path. Surely more has to be done to look after such an important part of our lives, our culture and our economy?'

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The advert, was branded "crass" by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who also said the ad did not come from his department. He added, 'This was a partner campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to think about a career in cyber security I want to save jobs in the arts which is why we are investing £1.57bn.'

Downing Street 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.'

While many others echoed the views of those on social media, who called the advert "patronising" and asked 'This has to be a joke? Right?'

Meanwhile some fans have spoken out in support of the ad's message. One wrote, 'What’s wrong with retraining with different skills, lots of people have to do it!! It’s not outrageous it’s a sensible suggestion!' And another put, 'Honestly the way things are going might have to retrain like Fatima did.'


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The advert is attributed to CyberFirst, a programme led by the National Cyber Security Centre to encourage young people to get into tech, and to HM Government.

Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 15 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She has covered all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand.