A £20m initiative to get schoolchildren interested in cyber-security has been launched by the UK government.
The Cyber Discovery programme is aimed at 15 to 18-year-olds and involves online and offline challenges themed around battling hackers.
It is one of the several programmes trying to build interest in security work and help fill a looming skills gap.
One industry expert said a broad strategy would be needed to address the widening gap.
The free Cyber Discovery programme aims to “encourage the best young minds into cyber-security”, said Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, in a statement.
Young people interested will be asked to enrol via an online assessment and the best performers in that test will then be put through a “comprehensive curriculum” that helps familiarise them with cyber-security work.
The curriculum will cover:
- digital forensics
- defending against web attacks
- ethics of hacking
It mixes online challenges with face-to-face learning, role-playing and real-world technical challenges, said James Lyne, head of research and development at the Sans Institute, who helped draw up the programme. Extracurricular clubs will also be set up as part of the project that will be run by mentors who help participants take the skills they learn further.