Early launch today for government-backed cyber training as students go online

News by Andrew McCorkell

Fourth-year of Cyber Discovery launches early to capitalise on the thousands of young people who are currently unable to attend school.

The government-backed online cybersecurity training programme has seen more than 65,000 students take part in recent years.

Cyber Discovery was first launched in the school year 2017/18 and aims to help close the UK’s cybersecurity skills gap by inspiring teenagers to pursue a career in the industry. 

It has been led by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and delivered by global IT security training organisation SANS Institute.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “This initiative gives teenagers something fun and educational to do from home and provides a glimpse into the life of a cybersecurity professional.

“We have a world-leading cyber sector protecting the country and our digital economy and we must continue to inspire the next generation of talent to help maintain this position.

“As the assessment phase opens I encourage all teens who enjoy a challenge to put their skills to the test.”

The programme includes an initial assessment stage called  CyberStart Assess; CyberStart Game and CyberStart Essentials,  designed to enhance the skills of those who have made it through the initial assessment stage. 

It normally kicks-off at the start of the new school year in September but this year begins today, on 2 June.

It will give students aged 13-18, currently studying away from the classroom, the opportunity to take part in the ‘CyberStart Assess’ phase during the summer.

Those that qualify for the advanced learning phases of the programme will begin in October. 

James Lyne, CTO at SANS Institute and one of the creators of the programme, said: “Until we see a significant increase in the number of young people entering the security profession the UK’s ability to defend itself against increasingly sophisticated threats will be at risk.

"Cyber Discovery is helping to promote cybersecurity as a rewarding and highly-valued career choice, using gamification to teach and demonstrate the basics of cybersecurity including forensics, coding and cryptography - in a safe, challenging and fun way.

"Its programmes such as these that will help the future economy be more tech-savvy and create a safer place to be online and do business. We’re seeing industry begin to support such initiatives, but more still needs to be done to reduce the skills gap and strengthen the UK’s cyber defences.

"I urge all cyber professionals to join us in encouraging young people to take part in Cyber Discovery (joincyberdiscovery.com) and other CyberFirst initiatives.”

Cyber Discovery is a part of the government's wider CyberFirst UK skills programme for young people, with registration online.

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