Government promotes cyber security profession in schools

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills announces plans to teach children as young as 11 about careers in in the cyber security sector

Government has announced plans to teach children as young as 11 about careers in cyber security.

The initiative comes after growing warnings that the UK faces a critical shortage of people with the skills to protect commercially sensitive data from attackers.

The demand for cyber security skills is expected to continue to grow as organisations increasingly rely on digital information and the internet.

Under the plan led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, new learning materials will be offered to schools as well as training for teachers, reports the BBC.

Discussing the skills shortage at a Computer Weekly cyber security forum in London, several representatives of the industry lamented the lack of awareness about cyber security as a profession.

“We need to get them young, and it is not too early to be engaging children as young as seven,” said Adrian Davis, European managing director for skills certification body (ISC)2.

At the e-Crime Congress in London on Tuesday 11 March 2014, Andy Archibald, head of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, highlighted the growing competition between public and private sector for cyber skills.

Last month the National Audit Office said a lack of skilled workers was hampering the UK's fight against cyber crime and warned it could take up to 20 years to address the problem.

The latest initiative under government’s national cyber security strategy will train teachers in how to inform children about careers in cyber security.

Science minister David Willetts said: "Today countries that can manage cyber security risks have a clear competitive advantage.

"By ensuring cyber security is integral to education at all ages, we will help equip the UK with the professional and technical skills we need for long-term economic growth."

In addition to the learning materials for those aged 11 to 14, apprenticeship schemes for older pupils will be developed, along with work experience at relevant firms.

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