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BTEA students pilot GCHQ's CyberFirst Programme

Students were the first to learn how to become cyber security specialists

Posted by Lucinda Reid | June 22, 2017 | E-safety

Pupils at a Bristol school are the first in the UK to be learning how to help protect the country against potential hackers and terrorists by becoming cyber security specialists.

Around 30 Year 10 and 12 students at Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy are piloting the CyberFirst Programme, run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

The programme of summer schools will help young people to develop the key skills they need to help defend businesses against online threats.  

BTE Academy, based in Stoke Gifford, is one of the UK’s University Technical Colleges (UTCs), which focus on the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Patrick Briggs, of the NCSC, which is based at GCHQ in Cheltenham, said: “There is a real skills gap and the recent spate of high profile hacking attacks, such as the one suffered by the NHS, reinforce the fact that we need more cyber security professionals in the UK. The long-term strategy therefore is to introduce the subject into computer science lessons in schools as a pathway, so that pupils initially get to learn about the technology, and then potentially go on to think about a career in this area.”

Rhian Priest, Principal at BTE Academy, added: “Our students are privileged to be able to take part in this opportunity, which meets a growing need. From September this year students who want to specialise in cyber security can join our neighbouring UTC at Berkeley Green, which will be one of the first schools in England to deliver the subject as a core specialism.”      


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