Year one of the Cyber Discovery programme introduced 23,000 14 to 18 year-olds in England to cyber-security in an accessible and fun way; now in its second year it is being extended to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The scheme forms part of Cyber First, the government’s cyber-security skills programme, itself part of the £1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy to boost the UK’s cyber security capability and workforce.
In a press statement, Minister for Digital Margot James said: "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. 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."
The £20 million Cyber Discovery programme delivered by the SANS Institute teaches students about subjects including digital forensics, defending against web attacks and cryptography.
Head of research and development for SANS Institute James Lyne noted in a press release: "Before taking part in Cyber Discovery 40.4 percent of female students and 35.5 percent of male students hadn’t even considered a career in cyber-security. This dropped to 9.6 percent and 6.3 percent respectively after these students took part in the programme. 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."
Marten Mickos, CEO of HackerOne, commented in an email to SCMedia UK: "Any and all expansion of initiatives relating to building and expanding cyber-security skills in the next generation workforce is positive. Whatever the biggest challenges of society are, it is always right to ask the young to engage in solving those problems.
"Cyber-security has proven itself to be one of society's biggest challenges with very real socioeconomic consequences. We should always encourage the young to get educated on and engaged in the topic because we will see massive results.
"When we engage the young in the most pressing issues, they feel needed and valuable contributors to society, and even more importantly, the problem has increased chances of actually getting resolved. The younger generation will approach problems open and creative minds, and an open mind is more qualified to solve problems than a closed mind."
Registration and completion of the first assessment phase closes on 7 January 2019. More details are available on the Cyber Discovery website.