Government Urges More Students to Be Cyber Explorers

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The government is urging more schools to enrol their students in a government scheme designed to boost cyber skills, claiming that tens of thousands have already signed up since its launch in February last year.

Around 2000 schools across the UK are participating in Cyber Explorers – a free learning platform for 11–14-year-olds designed to introduce them to key cybersecurity concepts.

Participating students are able to explore these concepts through interactive quizzes and other gamified activities, collecting virtual badges and learning from the “Cyber Ranger” and other experts in the “Cyber Squad,” the government explained.

Cyber minister viscount Camrose said the government wanted more students to get exposure to the course, as it tries to build a pipeline of talent to alleviate chronic skills shortages.

“The UK’s growing cyber sector is where the technological innovations and digital discoveries of the future will start,” he added. “That’s why we’re focused on breaking down the barriers to entry, and creating new opportunities for young people to gain the skills and knowledge that could kick-start exciting careers in cyber.”

Read more on UK cyber skills gaps: UK Heading for “Catastrophic” Digital Skills Shortage

Half (50%) of UK businesses have a basic cybersecurity skills gap and a third (3%) have an advanced skills gap, virtually unchanged from last year, according to the latest government report.

An industry skills shortage of 11,200 workers is slightly less than last year’s 14,100, although this is said to be due to slower growth in the sector.

However, a separate report from ISC2 last year estimated the shortfall in the UK to be 56,811, a 73% year-on-year increase.

Achi Lewis, area VP EMEA for Absolute Software, welcomed the Cyber Explorers program.

“It is brilliant to see government and the education sector working together to deliver essential cybersecurity training to usher in the new wave of cyber professionals,” he added.

“Cyber Explorers offers students a head start in cyber training, keeping them up to date with the latest trends and innovations impacting organizations.”

Oseloka Obiora, CTO for RiverSafe, echoed the government in urging more schools to participate.

“Now is the perfect time for people to get involved,” he argued. “Access to industry insights and real-world resources to detail cybersecurity concepts is an important step to creating a cyber-proficient workforce and mitigate both internal and external risks in the workplace.”

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