MP urges schools to get cracking on young code-breakers

Steve Barclay MP.
Steve Barclay MP.

Steve Barclay MP is urging Cambridgeshire schools to encourage a budding generation of code-breakers in a nationwide Cyber Security Challenge.

The MP has written to Head Teachers of local schools to invite them to participate in the initiative which runs cyber security ‘battles’ and pits participants from age 13 upwards against one another to find the brightest and most talented in the field. The best will take place in a grande finale against other schools next spring.

The Government’s Cyber Security challenge schools programme offers pupils the opportunity to increase their awareness of cyber security issues, improve their reasoning and code breaking skills and interact with one another on problem solving exercises.

Steve Barclay said: “This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for pupils to test out their code-cracking skills, learn about cyber security issues and pick up expertise that will be of real benefit in the workplace.

“The national virtual tournament will also be a fun way to engage our young people in the debate around how best to protect ourselves online and might even unearth the next generation of leading code-breakers.

“Increasingly the Government is recognizing the importance of investing in the future of cyber security and this initiative is an excellent way to introduce pupils to a more diverse range of skills and career possibilities.”

The Security Challenge has registered over 400 schools since it was launched in June 2013 and is backed by key figures in government, industry and academia.

A recent Public Accounts Committee hearing, of which Mr Barclay is a member, reported a national shortage of people with the technology and coding skills to fill the increasing number of jobs in cyber security across government, major companies and other businesses.