Record number of girls apply for NCSC cybersecurity courses

4 September 2020, 00:04

A person using a laptop
School cyber security survey. Picture: PA

The agency’s summer online courses for teenagers saw a 60% rise in female applicants.

The number of girls seeking to learn new cybersecurity skills through GCHQ-backed online courses rose 60% this year, new figures show.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is part of GCHQ, said it CyberFirst summer courses had seen the overall number of applications increase, but most notably among girls.

The courses, split into three levels for young people aged 14 to 17, aim to uncover the next generation of cybersecurity experts by introducing young people to topics such as digital forensics, ethical hacking and cryptography.

According to the NCSC’s figures, the number of girls who applied for the courses, which were run virtually, rose from 930 last year to 1,492 this year.

The number of boys who applied rose by 30%, from 1,824 in 2019 to 2,398 this year.

Earlier this year, the NCSC pledged to take action to improve diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity sector after it was revealed that just 15% of the UK’s workforce in the sector are women, and only 14% are from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Chris Ensor, the NCSC’s deputy director for cyber growth, said: “I’m delighted to see that more young people are exploring the exciting world of cybersecurity, and it’s especially encouraging to see such a level of interest from girls.

“Our online courses have provided new opportunities for teenagers of all backgrounds and we are committed to making cybersecurity more accessible for all.

“Ensuring a diverse talent pipeline is vital in keeping the UK the safest place to live and work online, and CyberFirst plays a key role in developing the next generation of cyber experts.”

The CyberFirst courses were launched in 2016 to introduce young people to cybersecurity.

Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “It’s great to see so many young people taking part in the CyberFirst summer courses. These fantastic experiences give teenagers an insight into the exciting and varied careers on offer in cybersecurity.

“We want our cyber sector to go from strength to strength, so it is vital we inspire the next generation of diverse talent to protect people and businesses across the country.”

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Apple phone

Apple launches free Sports app for following live scores

Culture, Media and Sport Committee

BBC soaps can be made with AI in three to five years, MPs hear

A woman using a laptop computer

New online safety law may disappoint public without ‘tangible’ change, say MPs

Cyber attacks

Generative AI and elections are key focus for hackers in 2024, report warns

A mobile phone

Parents need to look at own phone ‘addiction’, says Children’s Commissioner

LockBit

Major ransomware site taken down in international law enforcement sting

Tinder dating app

Tinder brings ID verification to the UK

Scam ads

Social media platforms and search engines still littered with scam ads – Which?

A drone

Plan to ease rules on drones could help urgent medical deliveries

lockbit

Hacker website taken over by UK-led law enforcement operation

Suella Braverman

Tech giants ‘could severely disable UK spooks from stopping online harms’

Most influential Scots on TikTok

Jobs in Ireland at risk as TikTok to cut several hundred jobs globally

The type of emotion reading AI has not been specified.

Reverend's 'horror' as daughter to be interviewed by emotion-reading AI, as father blasts 'robots who decide employment'

Mobile phone study

Teachers get new guidance as ministers ‘ban’ mobile phones in schools

A shop sign for Virgin media

Virgin Media O2 announces plans to create BT Openreach rival

Esther Ghey

Brianna Ghey’s mother says ‘trans hate’ targeting daughter on X is ‘horrendous’