The UK government is actively encouraging schools to enroll students in the Cyber Explorers program, a government scheme aimed at enhancing cyber skills among young learners.
Since its launch in February last year, tens of thousands of students have already signed up, with approximately 2000 schools across the UK participating. This initiative, specifically designed for 11–14-year-olds, offers a free learning platform that introduces key cybersecurity concepts through interactive quizzes and gamified activities. Students can earn virtual badges and learn from experts in the “Cyber Squad,” such as the “Cyber Ranger.”
Viscount Camrose, the Cyber Minister, expressed the government’s desire to expand student participation in the program, as it seeks to cultivate a talent pipeline to address ongoing skills shortages. Given that half of UK businesses report a basic cybersecurity skills gap and a third face advanced skills gaps, the Cyber Explorers program is a timely response.
Despite a slight reduction in the industry skills shortage from the previous year, a separate report by ISC2 indicated a significant shortfall of 56,811 in the UK, signifying a 73% year-on-year increase. Industry professionals like Achi Lewis from Absolute Software praised the government and education sector collaboration behind Cyber Explorers, emphasizing its role in equipping students with essential cybersecurity training and insights.
Oseloka Obiora, CTO for RiverSafe, echoed the government’s call for more schools to participate in the program. Obiora highlighted the importance of access to industry insights and real-world resources in fostering a cyber-proficient workforce.
With the UK’s growing cyber sector seen as the starting point for future technological innovations, the government’s focus on breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for young people aligns with the aim of building a skilled workforce prepared to tackle the evolving challenges in the realm of cybersecurity.