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Three universities gain recognition from experts for their top cyber security education

Three more UK universities recognised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) for promoting cyber security education on campus and beyond.

  • Three more UK universities recognised by GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) for promoting cyber security education
  • Gold and Silver awards granted in the latest round of the Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE) programme
  • Prospective students are encouraged to consider whether their university choices show a commitment to teaching vital cyber skills

Three universities have been recognised by the UK’s leading cyber experts for showing their commitment to delivering first-rate cyber security education on campus and beyond.

The successful institutions are the latest to be named Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACEs-CSE) by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a part of GCHQ.

De Montfort University and Royal Holloway, University of London, have both attained Gold recognition for their approach to promoting cyber security excellence, and Kingston University London is the latest institution to receive a Silver award.

The universities demonstrated a range of activities that promote cyber skills, including offering NCSC-certified degrees, training opportunities for staff and initiatives to engage their communities such as cyber taster days for Scouts and Guides.

This autumn, as young people start applying to higher education institutions, the NCSC is encouraging prospective students to consider whether their choices will help to develop their cyber skills, as they remain in high demand across the UK jobs market.

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

“It’s fantastic to see another three universities being recognised for the excellent cyber security education they provide to their institutions and more widely to local communities.

“Being recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education is a significant achievement, which reflects real commitment to promoting cyber skills, and we strongly recommend other institutions apply in the future.

“Cyber skills are in high demand among UK employers, and so we really encourage prospective students looking at their university choices to consider how top cyber teaching might help their future careers.”

Since its launch last year, the ACE-CSE programme, led jointly by the NCSC and the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, has recognised 12 UK universities with Gold and Silver awards, with at least one institution in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

To be recognised as a Gold centre, institutions have to show they are dedicated to cyber security education excellence across the board, while Silver centres demonstrate excellence in certain aspects and convincing plans for the others. At both levels, offering a NCSC-certified degree is a necessary first step in receiving ACE-CSE recognition.

However, ACEs-CSE also play an important role in nurturing cyber security talent more widely, among staff, students in other specialisms and through outreach initiatives. The latest successful institutions demonstrated first-rate activities including:

  • Information security and data protection training for university staff;
  • Cyber-themed taster days for Scouts and Guides;
  • A member of staff having a regular slot on local radio to discuss digital technology;
  • An initiative to help unemployed people develop cyber skills.

The ACE-CSE programme aims to help close the UK’s cyber skills gap by supporting the next generation of cyber experts. Employers continue to find cyber skills desirable, with the demand for cyber security professionals growing by an average of 14% a year since 2016.

Meanwhile, a recent survey found 50% of all private sector businesses said they had a basic technical cyber security skills gap, and 31% of cyber sector firms said they had a gap in soft skills, such as strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Regardless of whether they intend to study a cyber-related subject, all prospective students looking at university choices this autumn are encouraged to consider whether their options demonstrate a commitment to helping students learn about cyber security.

The next round of applications for ACE-CSE recognition will open in January 2022 to higher education institutions in the UK. More information about the initiative can be found on the NCSC website.


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