UK government encourages schools to take advantage of free resources to help secondary school children boost cyber skills and pursue careers in the field later in life
As students get ready to go back to school this September, British schools are being encouraged by the UK government to take advantage of Cyber Explorers, a free learning platform that introduces 11-14 year-olds to important cybersecurity concepts.
According to the governmental portal, more than 50,000 students from 2,000 schools around the country have already been signed up for the project. Since the program launch in 2022, schools taking part in Cyber Explorers have hosted a number of career-focused sessions for students, with participation from Amazon and Verizon representatives showcasing practical applications of cyber skills.
The platform offers challenging cyber scenarios, gamified educational experiences, virtual badge rewards, interactive quizzes and activities. The free resources show children how digital, computing, and cyber skills can help them navigate the online world.
Besides, the program highlights new career paths, ranging from social media content creation and medical research to sports technology and AI innovation. For this purpose, Cyber Explorers provide the basic skills and knowledge necessary to pursue computer science courses at Key Stage 4, as well as further training and employment.
“The UK’s growing cyber sector is where the technological innovations and digital discoveries of the future will start. That’s why we’re focused on breaking down the barriers to entry, and creating new opportunities for young people to gain the skills and knowledge that could kick-start exciting careers in cyber,” said UK Cyber Minister Viscount Camrose.
The move aims to address the current talent shortage in the UK cyber field. According to government data, around half of all British businesses faced a basic cyber skills gap in 2022, with the shortage equaling 11,200 professionals. At the same time, the industry gains critical importance in a modern business environment. Therefore, cyber security job postings in the UK rose by 30% to 160,000 last year.
Another problem is a wide gender gap existing in the field, with women making up only 17% of employees in the sector. Encouraging schoolchildren to gain cybersecurity knowledge in secondary school might also help raise a new generation of young female cyber professionals.
Earlier this year, ClearBank joined the partner list of Code First Girls – the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK – in an attempt to boost female recruitment in fintech roles.