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UK Gov Launches £20m Security Skills Program Website

The UK government has accelerated its plans for a £20m cybersecurity skills program for teenagers with the launch of a new website where students, teachers and industry stakeholders can register their interest.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)’s Cyber Schools Programme will aim to train up at least 5700 teenagers via extracurricular clubs, activities, instructor-led classes and a new online game.

Students will be assessed prior to selection for the program, which is designed to give them the kind of skills they’ll need to enter the workplace. Cybersecurity firms are therefore also being urged to get involved, as are volunteers.

The newly launched website will provide interested parties with a quick and easy way to register their interest in the program online.

“Our Cyber Schools Programme aims to inspire the talent of tomorrow and give thousands of the brightest young minds the chance to learn cutting-edge cybersecurity skills alongside their secondary school studies,” said digital minister, Matt Hancock, in a statement.

“I encourage all those with the aptitude, enthusiasm and passion for a cybersecurity career to register for what will be a challenging and rewarding scheme.”

Nigel Harrison, acting CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK, argued that equipping younger generations with the right cybersecurity skills sets is crucial if industry is to mitigate the current looming industry crisis.

“We're delighted that DCMS have appointed SANS, BT, FutureLearn and ourselves to deliver this important program and we look forward to working with our partners to provide a world-class education program that will have a huge impact on encouraging more people into the industry,” he added.

Back in February, the Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) revealed that the industry is approaching a cybersecurity “cliff edge” as older professionals retire without younger applicants appearing to take their roles.

Two-thirds of UK companies have too few cybersecurity personnel, with 47% of respondents claiming the reason is a lack of qualified applicants.

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