To tackle the shortage of cyber security talent in the country, the government is aiming to train 5,700 teenagers by 2021 by introducing its new Cyber Schools Programme.
The government's Cyber Schools Programme aims to impart cutting edge cyber security skills training to thousands of teenagers.
Launched by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently, the programme will help teenagers learn the latest cyber security skills and techniques alongside their secondary school studies. Students between the age of 14 and 18 years are being asked to apply for the programme but will have to undergo a pre-entry assessment before they are accepted.
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The £20 million programme will be delivered by SANS, BT, FutureLearn and Cyber Security Challenge UK and will include a series of games, challenges, and projects. Students will also be free to participate in local or regional learning clusters where they will be able to interact with other students and receive guidance from mentor and teachers.
As part of the Cyber Schools Programme, students will be taught digital forensics, defending web attacks, programming and cryptography, as well as the importance of cyber ethics and how to use their skills in a positive manner.
“Our Cyber Schools Programme aims to inspire the talent of tomorrow and give thousands of the brightest young minds the chance to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies," said Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock.
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"I encourage all those with the aptitude, enthusiasm, and passion for a cyber security career to register for what will be a challenging and rewarding scheme,” he added.
Students applying for the Cyber Schools Programme aren't expected to have any prior knowledge of cyber security and will be imparted skills training at their own pace. The best performing students will be able to enjoy three-day cyber security camps, more face-to-face training and coaching from renowned experts.
The UK is suffering from an enormous cyber skills shortage. According to a global study, it is the second worst in the world at the moment with employer demand exceeding candidate interest by as many as three times. Despite efforts from the government and the industries, the skills gap has in fact increased by a third between 2014 and 2016.
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It will be interesting to see whether new initiatives from the government like the Cyber Schools Programme will help plug the gap in the long run, but first, you should read this article by Jeremy Swinfen Green, Head of training and consulting at Teiss, on how a person completed the government's 10-week cyber security boot camp but is still looking for a job. To be clear, the 10-week cyber security boot camp was introduced to address the cyber security skills shortage in the UK.