NCSC launches hunt for schoolgirl tech talent

Written by PublicTechnology on 20 January 2017 in News
News

The new National Cyber Security Centre is attempting to improve gender equality in the IT sector by launching a competition for budding female techies.

Teenager using mobile

Competition winners stand to win prizes plus £1,000 for their school- Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The NCSC this week launched a competition for schoolgirls aged between 13-15 to seek out the best emerging talent in the UK.

The pupils will be tested on cyber security skills, with the top 10 teams fighting it out in a national final in London in March.

GCHQ director Robert Hannigan said: “I work alongside some truly brilliant women who help protect the UK from all manner of online threats. 

“The CyberFirst Girls Competition allows teams of young women a glimpse of this exciting world and provides a great opportunity to use new skills.”


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Currently, only 10 per cent of the global cyber workforce are female, which the NCSC said means millions of British women missing out on a career they could excel in.  

Girls aged 13-15 can enter the competition in teams of four, plus a teacher to act as a guardian and mentor. 

The winners will get individual prizes and their school will receive IT equipment to the value of £1,000.

Alison Whitney, deputy director of digital services at the NCSC, said: ““Women can, and do, make a huge difference in cyber security – this competition could inspire many more to take their first steps into this dynamic and rewarding career. 

“Having worked in cyber security for over a decade, it is a line of work I would strongly recommend to anybody, and one where lots more women could make a really positive impact on the world. 

“It’s a fantastic career choice where team work, ingenuity and creative thinking are highly valued attributes and the rewards can be substantial.”

The NCSC, which began operations in November, will provide a single, central body for cyber security at a national level.

It will manage national cyber security incidents, carry out real-time threat analysis and provide tailored sectoral advice.

More information on the competition can be found at www.ncsc.gov.uk/events/cyberfirst-girls-competition.  

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