The next generation of cyber experts are being nurtured in a unique training course, getting a unique glimpse inside the world of digital security, during a five-day programme designed to encourage young people into the industry.

Around 130 students, aged 13 to17, from across Cumbria and as far as Manchester have enrolled in the CyberFirst scheme, a government recognised programme, developed by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre and run by Energus in West Cumbria.

Based at Energus’ state of the art Cyber Lab, tutors Brad Cleaver and Drew Cranmer are leading the way.

Mr Cleaver said around 35,000 people are employed in the industry in Europe and about 10,000 in the United Kingdom.

Brad Cleaver said:
“It is a growing industry. We are so interconnected that, while we might not face another millennium bug scenario, there are always going to be new issues to tackle.
“Twenty years ago we didn’t have the internet in our homes. Now we have it on our computers, smart phones, smart TVs and even appliances such as washing machines.
“We are more connected in so many more ways than we have ever been and this increases the need for cyber security.
“This money is being invested to make the UK a safe place to live.”

The course includes sessions on security devices, understanding and securing business networks, dealing with insecure devices, computer forensics and OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) techniques. The STEM-related course underpins the skills and knowledge needed to prepare young people for the complex field of cyber security.

The drive to encourage more people into a career in the field is part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) goal to close the skills gap in cyber security.

It forms part of an NDA cyber programme that is designed to grow capability and capacity for the NDA and its businesses, bolstered by an £80 million investment over the next 5 years in cyber safety.

Frank Rainford, the NDA’s Group Director of Security and Corporate Services, said:
“Cyber security and resilience is vital to the NDA and its businesses, and encouraging young people into cyber-related careers will go a long way in helping to keep us, and the wider nuclear industry, safe from future cyber threats.”
The industry’s growing need for cyber professionals was realised with the launch of the NDA-funded Cyber Lab, based at Energus. It is one of the first of its kind in the UK for training cyber apprentices to deal with future cyber security threats.

Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Skills and Growth, said:
“The NCSC is committed to training a new and diverse generation of cyber security experts, making the nation more resilient to the ever-evolving cyber threat.”
“We’re delighted to see Energus play a part in increasing the talent pipeline and would encourage more industry partners to help us address the cyber security skills gap.”