Record numbers of teenagers have signed up to online cyber skills summer courses run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the centre has said.
The CyberFirst courses see young people how to analyse common cyberattacks, crack codes and defend devices and networks.
NCSC, which is a part of GCHQ, moved this summer’s classes fully online in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, said interest in the courses has doubled this year and as a result the programme would use a mixture of classroom-based and virtual lessons in the future.
600 more places are available on the courses this year, with 1,700 UK pupils in total due to be accepted.
The courses are for young people aged 14 to 17.
Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for Cyber Growth, said: “Moving this year’s CyberFirst summer courses online has proven hugely popular, with a record number of boys and girls participating and developing their cyber skills from home – in a way that is fun, insightful and engaging.”
The CyberFirst courses were launched in 2016 to introduce young people to cybersecurity.
The scheme is part of efforts to improve diversity in those going into STEM careers – just 15% of the UK’s cybersecurity workforce are women, the NCSC said.
“These courses offer a golden opportunity for young people to explore their interests in cybersecurity and hopefully they will be inspired to pursue this further and become a part of the next generation of cyber talent,” Mr Ensor said.