UK Includes Digital Forensics in £20 Million Cybersecurity Program for Schools

The UK Government has launched a £20 million initiative to encourage school children to enter a cyber security program.

Titled the ‘Cyber Discovery’ program, the initiative is aimed at 15 to 18-year-olds who will see a number of online and offline challenges to pit their wits against hackers. The government hopes the program will incubate interest in the cybersecurity arena, encouraging students to fill a widening gap between demand and supply of skill-based talent in the industry.

Karen Bradley, secretary for digital, culture, media and sport said the program will look to “encourage the best young minds into cyber-security.”

Students will be asked to enroll through an online assessment before the best performers in the test are picked for a “comprehensive curriculum” to help them prepare for cybersecurity work.

As reported by the BBC, the curriculum will cover:

  • digital forensics
  • defending against web attacks
  • cryptography
  • programming
  • ethics of hacking

The program will also mix a number of online challenges with face-to-face learning, real-world technical challenges and role-playing, according to program developer James Lyne, R&D head at Sans Institute. Elsewhere, a program developed by Qufaro, a cyber-training college at Bletchley Park, is adding a computer security-based program to its existing ICT curriculum. Professional services giant Deloitte has pledged to pay the fees of any students who take on Qufaro’s Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in 2017-18, in order to bridge the skills gap.

Phil Everson, head of cyber-risk at Deloitte said:

There’s already significant global demand for cyber-talent across the world. And there are not enough skilled people to meet that demand.

“We want to try to give the younger generation who have grown up with the internet an awareness of security and its implications,” he added. “The course is about foundational skills and abilities.”

One industry estimate pegs a staggering 3 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the world by 2021.

Image credit: Pixabay.