National Cyber Security Centre
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Girls just wanna have fun-damental cyber security knowledge

Moving CyberFirst courses from the classroom to online proves hugely successful.

A young girl working from home on her laptop at a table

  • 60% rise in girls applying to National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberFirst summer courses
  • Courses designed to encourage interest and improve diversity in the cyber security sector
  • Decision to move courses from the classroom to online proves hugely successful with more than 1,700 learning about cyber security challenges

The number of girls looking to learn new cyber security skills has surged this summer after courses went online for the first time, new figures reveal today (Friday).

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, confirmed that the number of young people taking part in this year’s CyberFirst summer courses rose to a record-breaking 1,770 after they moved from the classroom to online.

And while the number of applications from boys saw a significant 31% rise, it was the increase in the number of girls applying which really caught the eye – rising by a massive 60% on 2019.

CyberFirst aims to ensure greater diversity in the next generation of cyber security specialists, and the summer courses offer 14 to 17-year-olds the chance to learn about digital forensics, ethical hacking, cryptography and cyber security challenges.

The new figures come one month after the NCSC pledged to take action to improve diversity and inclusion in the cyber security sector, as just 15% of the UK’s cyber security workforce are women and 14% of employees are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth, recently said:

“I’m delighted to see that more young people are exploring the exciting world of cyber security, and it’s especially encouraging to see such a level of interest from girls.

“Our online courses have provided new opportunities for teenagers of all backgrounds and we are committed to making cyber security more accessible for all.

“Ensuring a diverse talent pipeline is vital in keeping the UK the safest place to live and work online, and CyberFirst plays a key role in developing the next generation of cyber experts.”

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman recently said:

“It's great to see so many young people taking part in the CyberFirst summer courses. These fantastic experiences give teenagers an insight into the exciting and varied careers on offer in cyber security.

”We want our cyber sector to go from strength to strength, so it is vital we inspire the next generation of diverse talent to protect people and businesses across the country."

Schools Minister Nick Gibb recently said:

“This country has led the way in introducing computing into the national curriculum and a more rigorous computer science GCSE.

“The world renowned National Cyber Security Centre summer course is inspiring more young people to take up a career in a discipline so important for our country’s safety. I’m delighted too, that we are seeing more applications from girls, ensuring all talent is encouraged to pursue such a vital career.”

Course participant Lydia, from Northern Ireland, recently said:

“I’ve honestly loved my experience with CyberFirst. I can’t wait to be able to apply my knowledge in the industry.

“Although this year was a little different from the last two courses, I still loved it and I would definitely encourage people to attend these courses".


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