Skills body e-skills UK and the Cyber Security Challenge have joined forces to launch separate programmes that complement each other, in a bid to make the cyber security profession more appealing to secondary school students.
The Cyber Security Challenge, which is backed by government organisations such as the Cabinet Office and GCHQ, as well as industry and academic institutes, will be starting a new programme this month.
It claims that hundreds of schools have already registered with the Challenge, which will see Key Stage 4 pupils work in teams to tackle industry-produced coding challenges, and to design their own ‘ciphers' for other schools to break.
Meanwhile, e-skills UK's ‘secure futures' campaign will also be launched in September. It aims to give teachers access to free interactive resources such as lesson plans, project briefs and online games in which students gain experience in digital forensics, cyber psychology and disaster recovery. Again, the aim of the campaign is to persuade students that a career in cyber security can be exciting.
"Our new schools programme provides teachers with engaging resources to educate pupils about online crime and how it can be prevented, at an age when they are considering subject choices and career options," said Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK.
"Through partnering with e-skills UK we can together offer many thousands of students a clearer pathway into the profession, demonstrate the exciting variety of job opportunities out there, and help address the critical skills crisis facing the UK cyber security industry," she added.
Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, welcomed the new partnership and said that it was "never too early to show young people the value of a career in the sector".
Earlier this month, science and universities minister David Willetts, and education secretary Michael Gove, spoke to Computing, and explained how the government intends to close the cyber security skills gap.
Computing's Securing Talent campaign aims to raise awareness of the growing need for people with cyber security skills in industry and government, and for clearer pathways into the cyber security profession.