Competition to close the cyber security gender gap

Competition to close the cyber security gender gap


TECH savvy students across the UK have flocked to GCHQ sessions to inspire future cyber security experts – but this week the drive is particularly focused on inspiring girls to join the talent pipeline.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has announced a 300% growth in young people taking part in their CyberFirst courses since launching in 2016. The number of courses offered has increased to meet the rising demands of a future generation engaging with the cyber security profession.

The broad CyberFirst programme offers a range of courses, competitions and student bursaries for 11-to-17 year olds.

But this week the organisation is appealing to girls aged 12 and 13 in Year 8, S2 or Year 9 (Northern Ireland) to take part in an exciting competition specifically for young women, because just 11% of the global cyber workforce is female.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Skills and Growth, said:  “Trebling the number of young people taking part on CyberFirst courses is an encouraging start however women only make a small proportion of the global cyber workforce and throughout GCHQ and the NCSC we are looking to address the imbalance.

“Ensuring the inquisitive instincts of young people to find out how things work are maintained is hugely important.

“In the first two editions of the CyberFirst Girls competition we have seen how much entrants engage with the challenges we set and this year’s competition is due to be bigger and just as cryptic.”

As an added incentive to all the girls competing in the competition, the NCSC will be offering around 600 free places on specially commissioned four day CyberFirst Defenders courses in April and May 2019. These courses will be ‘all girls’ and a mix of residential and non-residential at locations across the UK.

Over the past two years, 12,500 girls in schools across the UK have participated in the NCSC’s CyberFirst Girls competition of problem-solving and code cracking challenges to crown the UK’s most cyber-capable young women.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

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