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Female students flock to NCSC CyberFirst initiative

Nearly 12,000 girls aged 12 – 13 from across the UK took part in the competition in 2019, which was launched by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) as part of the CyberFirst initiative.

The competition breaks down gender barriers by encouraging girls to engage with cyber security before they make their GCSE choices, with over 24,000 female students having taken part since the competition was launched in 2016.

Promising youngsters from across the UK have been attending cyber security courses throughout the year, with some securing bursaries and apprenticeships through the CyberFirst programme.

However, with only seven percent of the cyber security workforce being female, Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidingto, called for more to be done to encourage females within the sector. 

“There remains a severe lack of diversity in the cyber industry,” said Lidington.  “Cyber security is among the most important aspects of our national defence today, so we need talent from every part of society enriching our workforces.

“Women have been pioneers in security and technology, and we want to see this reflected in the cyber security sector too.”

An online learning tool has also been developed by the NSCC to help workers protect themselves from any potential cyber attacks.

Discussing the new software, Clare Gardiner, NCSC director of engagement, said: “We all have a part to play in making the UK the safest place to live and work online. Employees are vital in helping keep their organisations’ networks safe and need to be aware of how to protect themselves.

“Our recent Cyber Survey discovered that 25% of organisations don’t see cyber security as a top priority and we hope this tool will empower staff to start conversations around best practice. 

“Once people are more cyber literate as a whole, we hope to see this having a positive impact on the diversity of people that are interested in working in the sector.”


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