Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has unveiled a new scheme to develop the next generation of cyber security experts in the UK.
Named the Cadets CyberFirst programme, it will be delivered by Ministry of Defence cadet organisations and the GCHQ National Cyber Security Centre, and is aimed at equipping over 2,000 cadets a year with the relevant skills.
Over £1 million will be invested in the programme each year, giving cadets the opportunity to learn how to protect systems connected to the internet from cyber attacks. They will be able to choose from introductory courses covering the tools, knowledge and skills to protect small networks, to more advanced courses where they will be fully immersed in cyber security issues.
Williamson said: “We live in a modern world where our phones are rarely out of our hands and we rely on computers to make daily tasks easier. Cyber threats to the UK are constantly evolving and this exciting initiative to train and develop ‘cyber cadets’ – the first of its kind in a NATO state - reaffirms our leading role in tackling security threats head on.
“It is important to recognise the vital role cadets play in our communities, and I am determined to grow the number of young people signing up and make sure their successes are properly recognised each year.
“The UK faces a real and growing cyber threat and it is important we have the right skills to combat the constantly evolving risk. In its first year, the National Cyber Security Centre received over 1,100 cyber incident reports.”
The new cadet training programme will build on GCHQ’s CyberFirst initiative, which aims to teach young people the fundamentals of cyber security. It will also offer a ‘train the trainer’ course, which will teach more than 50 Cadet Force Adult Volunteers so they can deliver the cadet training programme in the future.
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