13 Feb 2017

Finding tomorrow’s cyber security professionals

The next generation of cyber security professionals will be given intensive cyber security training and mentoring in extracurricular clubs in an effort to address the risk of a future skills shortage, as the need for cyber security experts is set to skyrocket.

Through the Cyber Schools Programme, schoolchildren will be supported and encouraged to develop some of the key skills required to work in the growing cyber security sector and help defend the nation’s businesses against online threats.

Students taking part will be expected to commit to four hours a week. This will include classroom-based and online-teaching with flexibility around exams and busier study periods.

The Cyber Schools Programme, led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is aimed at those aged between 14 and 18, with a target for at least 5,700 teenagers to be trained by 2021.

Recent figures from the Tech Partnership show there are already 58,000 cyber security specialists in a growing sector worth £22Bn a year to the economy.

Up to £20M is available to deliver an extracurricular school programme which will see an army of expert external instructors teaching, testing and training teenagers selected for the programme, with a comprehensive cyber curriculum expected to mix classroom and online teaching with real-world challenges and hands-on work experience.

The programme is part of the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme to “find, finesse and fast-track” the next generation of online security experts.

This includes the CyberFirst bursary funding scheme and the CyberFirst Girls Competition.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is also supporting leading employers in critical energy and transport infrastructure to train and recruit up to 50 highly skilled apprentices aged 16 and over to help defend essential services against cyber attacks.

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “This forward-thinking programme will see thousands of the best and brightest young minds given the opportunity to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies.

“We are determined to prepare Britain for the challenges it faces now and in the future and these extracurricular clubs will help identify and inspire future talent.”

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