There has been a surge in female applicants for the NCSC’s 2019 CyberFirst cyber-security summer courses (held in Cardiff, Belfast, Paisley, Newcastle, Birmingham and London), up 47 percent on 2018, while overall applications for the courses went up by 29 percent over the same period.
Working with training experts QA and education charity The Smallpeice Trust, the NCSC delivers a range of one-day and five-day courses for 11 to 17-year-olds. The programme includes lectures, practical work and guest speakers.
There were 930 female applicants for CyberFirst summer courses in 2019, compared to 630 in 2018. 705 students took part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition 2019 and had free places on CyberFirst Defenders courses. Defenders, for 14 to 15-year-olds, is an introduction to how to build and protect small networks and personal devices.
Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for growth, said in an official statement:"We’re delighted to see so many young people interested in finding out more about cyber-security. The significant rise in female applications is especially pleasing, and something we want to see continue into the future.
"It’s never been more important to increase and diversify the cyber-security workforce and we’re committed to nurturing the next generation of skilled experts and addressing the gender imbalance."
Amy Lemberger, cybersecurity director, GSMA, adds: ""The CyberFirst courses show young people how diverse and exciting a career in cyber security can be. I really wish there was something like this around when I was in school." Saskia, CyberFirst Futures Cardiff attendee, commented: "I haven't had the opportunity to study computer science at school but CyberFirst has encouraged me to consider the subject at University - I just wish the course was longer!"
The CyberFirst initiative also offers bursaries for young people interested in studying cyber security at university. The bursary offers undergraduates £4,000 per year financial assistance and paid cyber security work experience to help kick start their career in cyber.