The government have announced a £20million pilot scheme to interest teenagers in cyber-security.
Aimed at 14-18-year-olds the Cyber Discovery programme is part of a £1.9billion investment in beefing up the UK’s protection against cyber-crime.
The government hopes it will “encourage the best young minds into cyber-security.” And to develop a generation of ‘ethical hackers’.
The scheme is a mix of challenges and activities delivered online and face-to-face in extracurricular clubs. Teenagers wishing to be involved must take an online assessment before 2 January 2018.
What is the Cyber Discovery programme?
It’s a free programme delivered mostly online. Students will face a series of challenges, games and quizzes.
There will also be the opportunity to join after-school clubs and take part in workshops and camps. Students will study at their own pace.
The government say the aims of the programme are to, “promote cyber security as an exciting and recognised career choice and to equip students with some of the skills needed to enter the cyber security profession.
“Cyber Discovery will also identify elite young talent and accelerate their entry into and interest in the cyber security profession.”
What’s on the curriculum?
The curriculum is delivered in four stages and study areas include:
- Digital forensics
- Web attacks
- Ethical hacking
- Hands on training with industry experts
Assessments take place at the end of each stage. A number of security experts and tech companies have partnered with the government to deliver the programme.
To be honest it looks awesome. Why wouldn’t techie kids want to be involved?
Why do we need this programme?
There is a massive skills gap in the cyber-security industry. And it’s getting wider every year.
Unsurprisingly this is a huge concern given the inevitable rise in cyber-crime and the cyber threats to national security. Getting young people interested and involved in cyber-security is essential. Especially as estimates suggest there may be millions of unfilled jobs by 2021.
It’s an issue the government is well aware of and Cyber Discovery is part of the strategy to tackle it.
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 cyber security 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.”
What are they saying about Cyber Discovery?
Other experts in the programme recognise the need to train a new generation of ‘hackers’. 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.”