GCHQ launches Cyber First scheme to find future cyber security experts

UK intelligence agency GCHQ launches pilot sponsorship scheme to train the UK’s next generation of cyber security experts

UK intelligence agency GCHQ has launched a pilot sponsorship scheme for training people with the talent to become the UK’s next generation of cyber security experts.

The Cyber First scheme is designed to identifying skills from the broadest range of backgrounds to help meet the future needs for UK government and companies involved in national security.

The scheme will draw people showing potential for a top career in cyber security through school competitions such as the Cyber Security Challenge Schools Programme and maths competitions.

Cyber First will offer financial assistance for those studying relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) courses at undergraduate level.

The scheme also includes work experience in government or private sector firms involved in national security, resulting in a job in the field after graduation.

Read more about cyber security skills development

Successful applicants will be expected to work in an area of national security for a minimum of three years after graduation.

The pilot will provide funding of £4,000 for each of up to 20 student places. A full scheme across participating departments, agencies and industry will be implemented in 2016.

Cyber First builds on GCHQ’s recently announced Cyber Summer Schools programme and other existing national initiatives, such as the Cyber Security Challenge and the National Maths Challenge.

“The world-leading young people we support through Cyber First will help protect the UK from the growing tide of cyber attacks and cyber crime,” said Robert Hannigan, director of GCHQ.

“They will also play a part in GCHQ's key role of keeping the UK at the forefront of the multi-billion pound global cyber security industry,” he said.

Read more on Hackers and cybercrime prevention