Students across the UK are being encouraged to consider taking part in a £20 million cyber security schools programme being rolled out across the country in an attempt to tackle a growing skills shortage.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s Cyber Schools Programme will seek to train the next generation of employees by giving them the chance to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies.
A nationwide network of extracurricular clubs, activities, along with an online game, will be launched to support and encourage schoolchildren in their development.
SANS, BT, FutureLearn and Cyber Security Challenge UK have already been confirmed as partners and will help to deliver the four-year programme to students. Teachers, industry members and volunteers can also register their interest now.
Applications are open to students aged 14 to 18 and successful candidates will be selected via a pre-entry assessment. The goal is for 5,700 teenagers to be trained by 2021 to help defend UK businesses against today’s cyber threats.
Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock said: “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.
“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.”
Programmes such as these have become essential for the future of the industry, as the number of cyber security employees entering the workforce has not been keeping pace with demand for some time.
The rapid development of cyber threats is leaving security teams overworked and understaffed. Indeed, a recent survey suggested that Europe alone is facing a shortage of 350,000 IT security staff by 2022.
Although the UK’s skills shortage his shrunk during the last two years, much more work needs to be done to turn the tide in a global cyber battle that the good guys are currently losing.
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