NATS hosted a competition for young girls to learn more about cyber security over this past weekend. With nine teams of Year 8 girls from several schools across the south. It formed part of the National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberFirst Girls campaign to encourage more young women into technology-based careers.
Battling it out to qualify for the CyberFirst Grand Final, each group was tasked with a series of fun activities to test their cyber security knowledge and highlight some of the key skills required for a rewarding career in the industry. The games included Instagram ‘cryptography’ and domino ‘coding’.
Andrew Cocking, Information and Cyber Security Manager at NATS, said: “Cyber security has become an increasingly important part of business, especially for Critical National Infrastructure like NATS – so we are really proud to continue supporting the NCSC’s CyberFirst scheme. “We hope that events like this plant a seed of interest in the students and will potentially influence the subjects they choose to take at GCSE level.”
As part of NATS’ ongoing partnership with CyberFirst, this year four students will undertake summer placements with the air traffic control provider, and in September four more students will embark on year-long placements which will contribute towards their studies.
Not only is NATS contributing to the air traffic controllers of the future, they are also helping to raise the level of importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM in young girls. Technology industries lag behind others when it comes to women in key positions. Helping young girls to see the opportunities available through STEM is a key step toward balancing the diversity in technology roles in the future.
Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Skills and Growth, said: “It’s great to see girls from all corners of the UK putting their computing and cyber security skills to the test, and I wish them all the best of luck in this new round of the competition. “Whether they progress to the final or not, hopefully many of the girls will be inspired to find out more about cyber security and pursue their interest in this exciting field.”
The winning teams from the regional semi-final will be invited to the Grand Final on 16 March to compete for the title of CyberFirst Girls Competition Winners 2020.
The UK Government is fully committed to defending against cyber threats and set up the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) as part of GCHQ in 2016.
The NCSC was created as part of the five-year National Cyber Security Strategy in 2016, supported through £1.9 billion transformative investment. The NCSC is the UK’s lead technical authority on cyber security and offers unrivalled real-time threat analysis, defence against national cyber attacks and tailored advice to victims when incidents do happen.