Cyber Security Challenge UK launches new summer Cyber Camp

Cyber Security Challenge UK, sponsored and aided by some of the most prestigious names in academia, government and industry, is now in its third year. It already runs annual competitions aimed at attracting talented people and demonstrating the range of careers available within cyber security. This new venture can be seen as the next logical step in this process, by bringing together some of the talented individuals found by the competitions with the industry itself in a 5-day summer camp hosted at Lancaster University (5 September - 7 September).

Activities will include digital forensics, with training from the Police Central e-crime Unit, Lancaster University and Micro Systemation; and ‘informed defence’, with training from KPMG and Royal Holloway. It also includes a Careers Fair on 7 September open to anyone interested, including ‘interview and presentation techniques’.

“The cyber camp concept is something completely new for this year’s Challenge,” says CEO Stephanie Daman. It is “a proof of concept for a series of annual regional camps across the country, run out of local universities with a speciality in computer science and cyber security to specifically target younger guys and girls with real talent.”

In fact, she explained to Infosecurity, it is part of a much wider and more extensive vision. “One of the things we are looking to put in place over the next year is a schools competition - something geared at a slightly lower age group, and perhaps more fundamental than some of the more complex cyber security challenges we run – but which might encourage young adults to actually look at a security career. There is a growing understanding that we don’t provide a technical input into our curriculum that will produce the right people for the security industry - and that’s something we’re hoping to address. We’re hoping to run a pilot later on this year.”

The problem faced by Cyber Security Challenge UK is a numbers issue. The skills gap it seeks to address is huge. “What we want,” she told Infosecurity, “is to attract sufficiently large numbers with the right sort of skills to make a discernible difference in this space – and ensure that we do have the right people in place - to close that skills gap.”

Stephanie Daman has a vision, a joined up vision, of Cyber Security Challenge UK providing a channel from schools to university to industry, providing enough technically qualified people to fill the security skills gap and contribute to the future economic prosperity of the country. This new summer camp can be seen as one of the first steps towards fulfilling that vision. But the vision is not limited to the academic route. The existing competitions will still identify people already in work who want to make a change, and Cyber Security Challenge UK is working with and encouraging industry to consider offering apprenticeships to such people.

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