As students get ready to go back to school this September, schools are being encouraged to take advantage of free resources to boost cyber skills and set up aspiring young people to aim for careers in cyber.
More than 50,000 students from 2,000 schools around the country have already been signed up to Cyber Explorers, a free learning platform provided by the UK government that introduces 11-14 year-olds to important cyber security concepts, supporting learning objectives for Key Stage 2 and 3.
Students can explore a variety of engaging and challenging cyber scenarios, collect virtual badges, and learn tips and tricks from the Cyber Ranger and experts in the Cyber Squad. Through interactive quizzes and activities they will learn how digital, computing, and cyber skills can help them navigate the online world and unlock exciting new career paths, ranging from social media content creation to medical research, and sports technology to AI innovation.
The government has an ambition to develop a pipeline of talent to meet the growing needs of the UK’s in-demand cyber security industry. Cyber Explorers was launched in February 2022 to equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to pursue computer science courses at Key Stage 4, opening up a range of opportunities for further training and employment.
Says Cyber Minister Viscount Camrose:
“The UK’s growing cyber sector is where the technological innovations and digital discoveries of the future will start. 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.
“More than 2,000 schools across the country are already signed up to Cyber Explorers, meaning that tens of thousands of pupils can benefit from the resources on offer – and we want to make sure even more get that chance this year.”
Adds Michael Smith, CTO at Vercara:
“Cyber skills are in huge demand across the economy. A report on cyber security skills in the UK labour market published last year found that around half of all businesses had a basic cyber skills gap, with most new candidates lacking the technical skills required for their roles.
“All this data goes some way to highlighting the scale of the challenge ahead for the cybersecurity sector. New industry and government-led initiatives such as this one can attract more young people to the cybersecurity field, but a long-term solution to the skills gap requires a more holistic approach. It needs to be more than a recruitment plan, a practical long-term cybersecurity strategy.”