UK teenagers are being encouraged to register in a cyber security training programme rolled out to help the nation address the risk of a future skills shortage.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s Cyber Schools 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 through a nationwide network of extracurricular clubs, activities and a new online game.
About the Cyber Schools Programme
The £20m programme is due to launch in the autumn, and is expected to train almost 6,000 teenagers.
SANS, BT, FutureLearn and Cyber Security Challenge UK have been confirmed as partners to deliver the programme, and prospective students, teachers, industry members and volunteers can now register their interest in advance of the scheme.
The programme will see students take a comprehensive cyber curriculum mixing expert, instructor-led classroom and online teaching with real-world challenges, online games and hands-on work experience.
Students will be selected for the programme via a pre-entry assessment, and the scheme will provide them with clear pathways into the cyber security industry via direct contact with industry experts. Cyber security firms and industry volunteers are also encouraged to register their interest to be involved.
Applications are open to students aged 14 to 18, with hundreds of hours of extra curricular content designed to fill a four-year programme. It will be delivered in modules and students up 18 years old can join at any time providing they meet the right criteria. Older students, for example, may work through the content and challenges at a faster pace.
“Initially, you’ll learn online at your own pace through a series of games, challenges and projects. You’ll also have the opportunity to join a local or regional learning cluster, made up of other students with whom you can chat and collaborate and a teacher or mentor who can help guide you when needed,” the programme’s website explains.
“Some of the skills you will learn include digital forensics, defending web attacks, programming and cryptography. You will also learn the importance of cyber ethics and how to use the newly learned skills in a positive manner.”
Top performing students will be invited to take part in supplementary activities – including a three-day cyber security camp with extra face-to-face training and coaching delivered by renowned security experts.
The target is for at least 5,700 teenagers to be trained by 2021.
The news comes as DCMS also confirms £500k funding to continue a pilot to help adults who want to retrain for a job in cyber security by taking a GCHQ-accredited master’s degree.