Cyber Challenge Hunting For Security Skills In Schools

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Cabinet Office and the Cyber Security Challenge want to get kids interested in the industry

The Cabinet Office and the government-backed Cyber Security Challenge have launched a code-breaking competition in schools, as they continue their search for talented youngsters with security skills.

The Cyber Security Challenge was set up in 2010 in a bid to close the skills gap in the security industry and has now crowned three champions, handing out plenty of prizes to those with exemplary security skills.

School, education, children © Stokkete Shutterstock 2012Security skills hunt

But the Challenge wants to get children excited about security too, announcing a pilot tournament in which key stage 4 pupils will be asked to represent their schools in developing and cracking online codes. The top prize is worth £1000.

QinetiQ, Sophos, Cassidian and Raytheon have all agreed to develop security skills resources for teachers to use in helping children get to grips with the tasks.

It will launch in September.  “The UK already has a world-wide reputation in education and learning and we aim to make this the same for cyber,” said Chloe Smith, minister for cyber security in the Cabinet Office. “It will enable us to establish a pipeline of talented people to populate the UK cyber security job pool of the future. I would encourage as many schools as possible to participate in this exciting challenge.”

Meanwhile, the  the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) said it has forged an alliance that will create a Sponsorship Scheme to grant bursaries for people studying Masters-level degrees in cyber security. It is being launched through existing MSc courses at De Montfort University, Lancaster University, Plymouth University and University of Warwick.

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