GCHQ and Leamington charity aim to inspire girls to take up a career in cyber security

National security experts at GCHQ are working with a Leamington charity to offer a free cyber security course for teenage girls this summer.

The Smallpeice Trust and GCHQ are running a cyber security course for teenage girls. NNL-160720-090749001

The Smallpeice Trust is running the CyberFirst Futures residential course with GCHQ at Birmingham University from August 1 to 4, during which participants will gain an insight into the next generation of cyber security tools. The course will also test their skills in dealing with modern and advanced cyber defence scenarios.

Open to 16 and 17-year-old girls, those taking part in the four-day course will work closely with experts from GCHQ, the Smallpeice Trust and academia, gaining an insight into the importance of cyber security and getting first-hand experience of defending against a cyber-attack.

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Chris Ensor from GCHQ said: “We want to develop a diverse, continuous flow of people with the right skills and knowledge to help protect the UK against future cyber-attacks.

“The reality is that our cyber security will become even more important as technology develops and the internet becomes all pervasive.

“It makes sense that we look to inspire and encourage a generation of young people into a career in cyber security who have grown up with the internet as an integral part of their lives and who have an innate understanding of the power of technology.”

The UK now earns nearly £2 billion in cyber security exports and according to the last report on the strategy in 2014, there are 750 companies signed up to the Cyber-security Information Sharing Partnership for Industry and Government (CiSP). This emerging sector is driving the need for new recruits with good science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Dr Kevin P Stenson, chief executive at the Smallpeice Trust, said: “We’ve worked with GCHQ for many years on individual cyber security courses for 13 to 14-year-olds, but given the projected growth of career opportunities in cyber security and as the risk of cybercrime increases, it is now the ideal time for a national programme aimed at 16 to 17-year-olds to start.”

To apply for a place on the course, which is free, visit www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk