Cybersecurity has been making a lot of noise this year, with high profile cyberattacks seemingly taking place every day. Equifax, Deloitte, Cex and even the UK’s national grid have all become victims at the hands of online criminals. The Government is now taking action to encourage young people to consider a career in the cybersecurity industry. 

The extracurricular training programme ‘Cyber Discovery’ will be open to young people between the ages of 14 – 18. They've been invited to have their skills tested in online challenges to see if they could play a role in defending the nation from future cyberattacks. Individuals that perform well will have the chance to meet cybersecurity experts and attend regional camps to enhance their skills.

Anyone who thinks they’re up to the challenge has until January 2018 to sign up. If you’re interested, or know anyone that could be, they can follow this link to register.

The £20million investment is part of the previously pledged £1.9billion toward the nations cybersecurity announced by Phillip Hammond earlier this year. Members of government and influential leaders in the cybersecurity industry have come forward to praise the initiative.  

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, said:

“This Government is committed to improving the skills of the next generation and encouraging the best young minds into cyber security.

Cyber Discovery will help inspire the digital talent of tomorrow and give thousands of young people the opportunity to develop cutting-edge cybersecurity skills and fast-track future careers.

This important programme is part of our £1.9 billion investment to protect from online threats and make Britain the safest place to be online.”

Mark Hughes, CEO BT Security, said:

“Organised crime has moved online while countries across the globe are also battling with hacktivism and cyber espionage. The cyber-crime industry is getting bigger, stronger and more sophisticated in its techniques of attack. So it’s vital that we start engaging and encouraging young people in developing their cyber skills now, to further bolster the UK’s defences against the escalating level of the threat. 

As a key delivery partner for the Cyber Discovery programme, BT is looking forward to inspiring the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and equipping them with the skills they need to beat cyber-criminals at their own game.”

Debbie Tunstall, Head of Education at Cyber Security Challenge UK said:

“Cyber security is an industry that’s still in its infancy, meaning very few young people know and understand that there are lucrative careers awaiting them in the field. With a critical skills gap looming and the cybercrime threat growing, we need to educate about cyber security while individuals are still young; piquing their interest in future cyber careers and as a result, filling the pipeline of talent. 

The Challenge has years of experience in dealing with people in this age group and providing fun and educational face-to- face events and we’re delighted to bring our expertise to this innovative programme.”

The UK Government have seemingly recognised the growing cybersecurity threat and begun to address the issue at a grass-roots level. As discussed in our blog post, 45% of companies report a lack of cybersecurity skills. Whilst this surely won’t solve the problem, it’s certainly a good place to start.