November 2017 saw the UK government announce ‘Cyber Discovery’ - a cybersecurity training scheme for teenagers. Well, initial assessment stages are nearing the cut off point and more than 20,000 students from across the country have signed up and taken part in the first six weeks.
Fear not, if you’re a student that wants to take part in 'Cyber Discovery' or know someone that would be interested, the closing date is January 21st.
We’ve seen 2000 sign ups in London alone, with 600 from Birmingham, more than 500 in Manchester and 300 in Nottingham. It’s reported that hundreds of participants have already been deemed worthy to progress on to stage two of the assessments, dubbed ‘CyberStart Game’. The second stage aims to provide hundreds of hours of further challenges to help mould them into cybersecurity experts.
One of the aims of the scheme is to help bridge the gender gap in cybersecurity by encouraging more women to join the industry. As it stands currently, more than a quarter of the initial sing ups were female. Whilst its not the 50/50 mark we’d like to see, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said:
“I'm delighted to see so many young people are interested in cyber security and have tested their talents in this ground breaking scheme. Cyber security offers fascinating and varied career opportunities, and I encourage inquisitive students across the country to challenge themselves to see if they've got what it takes before the deadline closes."
The initiative was first conceived by the Prime Minister in November 2017 in a bid to encourage more young people to engage with cyber security. High profile data breaches are happening seemingly every day, with no sign of slowing down; coupled with an industry wide shortage of cybersecurity experts.
Late last year we discussed a report bringing to light that 45% of businesses lacked cybersecurity skills and it seems the government are taking a proactive approach to make up the shortfall. Hopefully investing in young people to take up the cybersecurity mantle will create a culture of protected data, as opposed to breached data.
Cyber Discovery, HM Government's Cyber Schools Programme, is an extracurricular learning programme for students in years 10-13 across England. Its goal is to ensure that many more people enter the cyber security profession in the coming years.