West of England region aims to lead the way in cyber

Issue date: 04 December 2018

A major new regional initiative is being launched aimed at addressing the cyber skills shortage in the region.

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has partnered with leading cyber organisations including Cyber Security Challenge UK, Leonardo, South West Police Regional Cyber Crime Unit, Bristol & Bath Cyber, High Tech Bristol & Bath, Immersive Labs, Graphic Science and Weston College to set up Do Cyber. The project will help raise awareness, create and deliver opportunities for young people in order for them to develop the necessary skills needed to work in cyber. It is an area which has the biggest global growth potential for jobs.

Pupils from 24 schools from across the region will be attending the first Cyber Taster Day event being held at UWE Bristol on 4 December. Students aged between 12 to 14 years will get the opportunity to participate in a range of employer-led activities being delivered by companies including Leonardo, Just Eat, IBM, SANS, Corvid, Amiosec, Cyber Security Associates and South West Police Regional Cyber Crime Unit.

In the New Year the Do Cyber project group will work with schools to create and deliver content for cyber related games, activities and online resources. The Do Cyber website, which signposts information about the industry will be launched at the event. The project's success will be tracked and measured to follow progress and determine future needs and requirements.

Do Cyber will be encouraging students from the region to enter the National Cyber Security Centre's CyberFirst Girls competition, which is designed to encourage and inspire the next generation of young women to consider a future career in cyber security.

Plans also include the creation of an independent regional final for girls who participated in the CyberFirst Girls Competition, hosted by UWE Bristol in March 2019.

Elaine Brown, Do Cyber Project Manager at UWE Bristol, said: “While using advanced technology has become part of our everyday lives, the challenge now is to learn how to protect ourselves in this digital world. We hear of organisations being hacked in the news and people's personal data being stolen. Some attacks have shut down hospitals and airports. The threat is huge, but so too are the opportunities to work in an industry that keeps us all safe.

"Our aim is to highlight the broad range of ever increasing opportunities in cyber security and digital technology. The Do Cyber event should suit anyone with an enquiring mind, who enjoys problem solving. We hope to excite and engage young people so that they will want to find out more, as well as learn how they could have a role themselves in protecting the technology we now rely on so heavily.”

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