Schools from every corner of the UK are invited to test their tech skills for the chance to be crowned Cyber Explorer champions, Science and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan has announced.
The Cyber Explorers Cup kicked off today, Wednesday 6 December giving pupils between 11 and 14 years the opportunity to compete in cyber security challenges – boosting their learning in a vital technology, with the chance to win tech-related prizes which could include vouchers for schools to buy new learning materials and equipment, class trips, and opportunities for teachers and students to engage with other learning opportunities.
More than 60,000 students from around 2,500 schools across the country have already been signed up to Cyber Explorers – a free learning platform provided by the UK government that introduces Key Stage 3 pupils to important cyber security concepts such as digital forensics, encryption, secure communication, the Computer Misuse Act and network security. The competition is open to all schools, including home schools, and involves teams of up to four students per school completing a series of missions based on a ‘Capture the Flag’ format during the hour-long competition.
The highest scoring school in each UK nation will be awarded tech prizes, and branded learning material to support students to build their skills. The competition will run until March 2024, and will be launched by the Science and Technology Secretary on a visit to a school in South-East London. She is joined by Cyber Explorers campaigner and primetime TV personality Baasit Siddiqui who will deliver an in-person learning session with the students, exploring the online platform.
Science and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan, said:
“As the pace of technological change picks up, it is more important than ever to harness the enthusiasm of future generations, inspired by the prospect of exciting careers in cybersecurity that keep us safe. The Cyber Explorers cup will help us do exactly that.
“I want Cyber Explorers to create new opportunities for thousands of young people to gain the crucial knowledge in cyber security, digital tech and computing we need to bolster our growing cyber sector and make the UK a technology superpower.
“With exciting activities and expert insight on offer to help build those valuable skills, I encourage teachers across our country to take on the challenge.”
Baasit Siddiqui said:
“Having worked on the Cyber Explorers programme for over a year, it has highlighted the importance of preparing the next generation of cyber professionals. We need to empower digital literacy, resilience, and creativity in the digital space.
“I’ve enjoyed supporting students in recognising the incredible ways in which technology is used in varying careers but also informing them of the importance of protecting their devices and data from varying cyber threats. I’m confident the upcoming Cyber Explorers Cup will celebrate the most cyber-savvy children across the UK and I’m excited to be a part of these events”.
Cyber Explorers was launched in February 2022 to support and inspire pupils towards a future career in tech and give them the foundational knowledge to pursue crucial subjects such as computer science.
On this free learning platform, students can access a range of quizzes and activities, with support from the team’s Cyber Squad experts, showing the new and exciting opportunities available for those striving to work in a range of tech roles, across social media content creation, sports technology and AI innovation to name a few.
The UK cyber security sector is growing fast, having generated £10.5bn in 2022 – up 3% on the previous year – and with around 2,000 cyber security firms based across the country. The sector employs nearly 60,000 people, up 10% on 2021, with continued investment to drive up job opportunities in the coming years.
Got a news story, blog or press release that you’d like to share or want to advertise with us?