National Cyber Security Centre
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Girlguiding take on cyber security challenges

The NCSC partners with Girlguiding South West England, as part of the drive to increase female representation in cyber security.

Girl Guides

  • National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ, partners with Girlguiding South West England to nurture cyber stars of the future
  • Over 100 Guides gather to learn skills in cryptography, language analysis and digital forensics using real-life scenarios
  • Event is part of NCSC’s drive to increase female representation in cyber security

More than 100 Guides gathered to learn about the world of cyber at an interactive event run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

The event saw girls, aged between 12 and 14, invited to the University of West England to learn more about security techniques and cyber security, and understand how these skills can lead to career opportunities in the future.

It was one of the CyberFirst programme events run by the NCSC – which is a part of GCHQ – aimed at developing talent in cyber security.

The day-long event, run in conjunction with Girlguiding South West England, saw the girls get stuck into a series of interactive sessions. The topics ranged from website customisation and use of big data, to digital forensics and cryptography.

The girls took on fictional scenarios which helped the girls see the relevance of the skills they were learning compared to real world events. For example, the girls used digital forensics and open source intelligence to find the first person who had contracted an infectious disease.

The tasks were tailored to children who are soon to select their GCSE choices - and give them an opportunity to see the variety of jobs and career paths that studying computer science could attract in the future.

Women are under-represented in the UK's cyber workforce, something the NCSC is working to address through events such as this and the CyberFirst Girls Competition.

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for Skills and Growth at NCSC yesterday said:

“It’s great to see Guides from across the South West learning about the fascinating world of cyber security, enabling them to see how worthwhile and fulfilling a career in this field can be.

“We will continue to support and encourage the UK's next generation of cyber professionals, through our world leading CyberFirst programme, helping to attract the most diverse minds.”

This is not the first time the NCSC has teamed up with the Guides – last year they partnered to produce a cyber-related resource called ‘On the Net’ which once completed led to the award of a badge.

Carole Pennington, Chief Commissioner for Girlguiding South West England yesterday said:

“We were delighted to be working with NCSC on our first CyberFirst activity day.

“Part of the ethos of Girlguiding is that girls can do anything, and events like this are key to our members being able to try out a range of activities with experts in their field. These activity days form part of the Region SWEBOTS programme.

“The most recent resource ‘On The Net’ was produced in collaboration with NCSC and has proved to be very popular with our members of all ages.

“Awareness of cyber security is vital for all our members, and we hope that many more girls will have the opportunity to take part in activity days like these which provide a fun way of learning about the topic.”

The event is part of a series of NCSC’s CyberFirst courses which are designed for 12 to 18-year-olds and aim to develop the UK’s next generation of cyber professionals through student bursaries, courses and competitions.

A full list of upcoming courses and dates.

Another major event for the NCSC is the CyberFirst Girls Competition, for which the UK final will take place in Wales on 16th March.

The competition was created to boost female interest in cyber security and computing among girls aged 12 and 13 before they make their GCSE subject choices.

The girls compete to crack a series of online puzzles and challenges, and for the first time this year semi-finals were held at 18 venues across the UK. Just under 12,000 girls took part in this year’s opening online round, and over 600 competed in the semi-finals.


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