Following the success of its year-long Cyber Discovery programme that was initiated to impart extra-curricular learning programmes on cyber security to 14-18-year-olds, the government has decided to run the programme for another year to inspire thousands of teenagers to think about a career in cyber security.
Following its launch almost a year ago, the £20 million Cyber Discovery programme gained instant interest from thousands of teenagers, attracting over 20,000 applications a mere six week after it was launched. Of these, 2,000 students were from London, 500 from Manchester, 600 from Birmingham, and another 300 were from Nottingham.
The programme is among various programmes spearheaded by the government to ensure the availability of plentiful cyber security talent in the UK in the coming years and to address the critical lack of experienced workforce across industries.
Cyber Discovery programme gets a fresh boost
In order to maximise the reach of the programme, the government has also decided to extend Cyber Discovery to Scotland and Northern Ireland this year. The programme is being delivered for Government by the SANS Institute.
"Based on the success of last year’s Cyber Discovery programme, it’s clear there’s both the appetite and the aptitude to learn about cyber security in the UK. Before taking part in Cyber Discovery 40.4% of female students and 35.5% of male students hadn’t even considered a career in cyber security. This dropped to 9.6% and 6.3% respectively after these students took part in the programme," said James Lyne, Head of Research and Development for SANS Institute.
"And many of the club leaders who are also Computer Science teachers, told us they used Cyber Discovery last year to complement their lesson plans. We hope to extend this enthusiasm and passion for cyber security across the the UK in year two," he added.
"The Cyber Discovery programme has been a great success so far. I hope more teenagers will take part and learn that those working in cyber security can come from any walk of life, and have studied any subject," said Minister for Digital Margot James.
"We need to inspire young people and show them a career in Cyber Security can be exciting and rewarding, not only to give them more opportunities but also help build a talented workforce for the future."
According to the programme website, students begin their cyber security education by taking part in CyberStart Game. Using a suite of online challenges and games, players take on the role of a security agent and tackle realistic examples of tests and threats faced by cyber security practitioners in the field. Security disciplines such as Linux, cryptography and programming are all introduced and developed in a fun and engaging environment.