Gov aims to train 6,000 teenagers in cyber security

A 20 million government scheme to train teenagers who want to develop cyber skills is set to start this autumn.

The Cyber Schools Programme has a 20 million pot of funding to train 5,700 teenagers in cyber security by 2021, with a pilot programme launching in a few months' time.

Students and teachers can register their interest on a newly launched website,, with the initiative designed to be delivered through extracurricular clubs in partnership with SANS, BT, FutureLearn and Cyber Security Challenge UK.

The four-year programme will mix experts and instructors who run classroom lessons with online teaching, real-world challenges, online games, and practical work experience.

Young people aged between 14 and 18 can apply and work through the course at different paces. They will have to apply via a pre-entry assessment, and the scheme will aim to provide them with clear pathways into the cyber security industry via direct contact with industry experts.

Cyber security firms and industry volunteers can also register their interest to take part in the scheme.

Digital minister Matt Hancock said: "Our Cyber Schools Programme aims to inspire the talent of tomorrow and give thousands of the brightest young minds the chance to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies.

"I encourage all those with the aptitude, enthusiasm and passion for a cyber security career to register for what will be a challenging and rewarding scheme."

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) originally announced the scheme in February, making funds available under the government's 1.9 billion National Cyber Security Strategy.

DCMS also announced it has received another 500,000 to continue a pilot helping adults retrain for the cyber security sector by taking a GCHQ-accredited master's degree, and an additional 500,000 funding for universities to help students accepted onto certain courses

The government is trying to step up development of cyber skills internally, embedding them in every department, with the EU predicting that the cyber skills gap will reach 800,000 vacant roles by 2020.

The UK's digital strategy also aims to train 2.5 million people, charities and SMBs so they have basic digital skills by 2020.