Cyber Discovery launches remotely so students can learn from home

The programme, now in its fourth year, is part of the government’s CyberFirst UK skills initiative for youth across the UK

Cyber Discovery, the government-supported digital cybersecurity training initiative for young people across the UK, has launched for a fourth year; but this time, it’s doing so remotely, providing access for thousands of students who are learning from home in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and delivered by the SANS Institute – the global IT security training body – 65,000 students have participated in the programme over the last three years. Originally launched in the 2017/18 school year, the government hopes the initiative will help to plug the cybersecurity skills gap by encouraging students to pursue a career in the field.

The programme is split into three separate phases: the initial assessment phase, called CyberStart Assess; CyberStart Game and CyberStart Essentials, all of which have been designed to enhance the skills of those who’ve progressed through the initial assessment stage.

“This initiative gives teenagers something fun and educational to do from home and provides a glimpse into the life of a cybersecurity professional,” said Minister Matt Warman.

“We have a world-leading cyber sector protecting the country and our digital economy and we must continue to inspire the next generation of talent to help maintain this position. As the assessment phase opens, I encourage all teens who enjoy a challenge to put their skills to the test.”

While the initiative usually kicks off in September, this year’s programme launched on Tuesday 2 June. The earlier start means students aged 13-18, who are currently working remotely, can take part in the CyberStart Assess phase this summer. Those who succeed will qualify for the advanced learning phases of the programme, which will start this October.

James Lyne, CTO at SANS Institute, commented: “Cyber-attacks continue to make headline news on an almost weekly basis – the demand for skilled people to secure the technology that we rely on has never been greater. The third year of the Cyber Discovery programme again saw many highly talented young people take part, many of whom are now motivated to pursue a career in cybersecurity.

“With so many young people spending time away from school as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we were happy to bring forward the all-new assessment phase of the 2020/21 programme,” he added.

“This is an ideal opportunity for students to put their problem-solving skills to the test with a range of fun, interactive challenges where they’ll get to try out cracking codes and solving tricky problems. Those that are successful will then go on to enhance their skills in the core stages of Cyber Discovery. The UK needs cyber defenders and technologists to secure our increasingly digital future. Help us get young people involved and let’s see if they have what it takes!”

Click here to register for the Cyber Discovery programme.

In other news: Coventry Uni and FutureLearn launch tech-focused microcredentials to upskill the workforce


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