Press release

School children as young as 11 to get cyber security lessons

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Cyber Security Skills: Business Perspectives and Government’s Next Steps report is published today (13 March 2014).

Special learning materials for 11 to 14 year-olds and plans for a new higher-level and advanced apprenticeships are among new government plans to increase the cyber security skills of our nation.

The Cyber Security Skills: Business Perspectives and Government’s Next Steps report, published today (13 March 2014), includes plans to provide training for teachers to enable them to teach pupils about cyber security.

Support will also be available for universities that come up with innovative proposals to improve cyber security teaching. And a new internship scheme will help provide students with the work experience employers are looking for.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

Today countries that can manage cyber security risks have a clear competitive advantage.

By ensuring cyber security is integral to education at all ages, we will help equip the UK with the professional and technical skills we need for long-term economic growth.

Sir David Pepper, representing the professional institutions in the Cyber Security Skills Alliance, said:

We warmly welcome this report and the actions it proposes. It is clear from this and our own research that the national shortage of cyber skills is a key issue for businesses and government in the fight against the growing threat from cyber crime.

We will work closely with the government and industry in support of this programme, in particular to help establish career paths in cyber security and improve recruitment and training.

Plans in the report, informed by the suggestions made by business, include:

  • new e-skills UK employer-led cyber security higher and advanced level apprenticeship schemes
  • new e-skills UK projects to develop key stage 3 learning materials and training for teachers (delivered in partnership with Naace)
  • e-skills UK will roll-out their Secure Futures schools campaign in London, Greater Manchester and Sussex with the support of employers, following a successful pilot in Worcestershire
  • a new e-skills UK cyber security internship scheme, to enable students to gain the work experience demanded by employers
  • support, through the Higher Education Academy, for universities who develop innovative proposals to improve cyber security teaching. For example, incorporating professional qualifications into degrees; getting businesses involved in course design and embedding cyber security into software engineering and computing degrees
  • support for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to provide a mass audience with introductory training on cyber security. Ongoing support for Centres for Doctoral training, to improve the UK’s high-level cyber security skills. Working with vocational qualifications providers to look at how cyber security can be embedded in teaching in Further Education colleges
  • developing a certification process for Masters degrees in cyber security and to help universities with certified Masters degrees to attract additional numbers and higher quality students both from the UK and abroad
  • support for activities to inspire more people to consider a career in cyber security, including ongoing support for the Cyber Security Challenge, which launches an exciting masterclass competition today (13 March 2014)

This report is the result of government talking to businesses employing cyber security professionals about how to meet their evolving needs last year (2013).

Leadership from business is vital to strengthening the UK’s cyber security skills. We have also published Cyber Security Skills: A guide for business. Developed at the request of businesses, it showcases the opportunities and benefits for businesses of getting involved in skills activities.

Notes to editors:

  1. Through the National Cyber Security Programme, the government is working with partners in business and the education and skills sectors to increase cyber security skills at all levels of education and among the cyber security workforce.

  2. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.