Thousands of teenagers are to be given intensive cyber security training and mentoring in extracurricular clubs as part of plans to address the risk of a future skills shortage, as the need for cyber security experts is set to skyrocket.
The Cyber Schools Programme aims to support and encourage schoolchildren to develop some of the key skills they would need to work in the growing cyber security sector and help defend the nation’s businesses against online threats.
Up to £20m is available to deliver an extracurricular school programme which will see an army of expert external instructors teaching, testing and training teenagers selected for the programme, with a comprehensive cyber curriculum expected to mix classroom and online teaching with real-world challenges and hands-on work experience.
The Cyber Schools Programme, led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), is aimed at those aged between 14 and 18, with a target for at least 5,700 teenagers to be trained by 2021.
This programme is for students with the aptitude and enthusiasm for the subject. It aims to appeal to children from all backgrounds, including those currently underrepresented in cyber security jobs.
Cyber security is an exciting industry with strong job prospects. Recent figures from the Tech Partnership show there are already 58,000 cyber security specialists in a growing sector worth £22bn a year to the economy. This is part of the Government’s commitment to prepare Britain for the challenges it faces now and in the future.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said:
“This forward-thinking programme will see thousands of the best and brightest young minds given the opportunity to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies. We are determined to prepare Britain for the challenges it faces now and in the future and these extracurricular clubs will help identify and inspire future talent.”