What is CyberFirst?
CyberFirst is a programme of opportunities led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, with the aim of helping young people explore their passion for technology by introducing them to the world of cyber security.
CyberFirst covers a broad range of activities including a girls' only competition, thousands of free places on CyberFirst courses, a generous university bursary and degree apprenticeship scheme and the CyberFirst Schools programme.
CyberFirst Girls competition
The CyberFirst Girls competition aims to support girls aged 12-13 interested in a career in cyber security. It provides a fun but challenging environment to inspire the next generation of young women to consider a career in cyber security.
The competition consists of three phases:
- an online qualifying round to identify the top teams in each home nation
- a semi-final where teams will battle it out in their areas to qualify for a place in the grand final
- the grand final where the top ten teams drawn from the regions in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland gather to compete for the title of UK CyberFirst Girls competition winners.
The 2020 CyberFirst Girls competition final in Cardiff saw eight teams take on the fictional scenario of protecting the Olympic Games from cyber-attacks.
These short courses are designed to introduce 12-17 year-olds to the world of cyber security. They offer a practical hands-on learning opportunity to explore everything from creating and contributing content to the web through to developing advanced skills in cyber security including digital forensics, encryption technologies and penetration testing.
Each course is designed to seek out young people with potential, offering the support, skills, experience and exposure you need to be the future first line of defence in our CyberFirst world.
The CyberFirst Schools/Colleges scheme certifies and promotes schools and colleges that share the NCSC’s commitment to addressing the cyber skills gap and inspiring young people from all backgrounds to pursue a career in the field.
Following a successful pilot, schools and colleges in Wales are invited to apply and demonstrate their commitment to cyber education in the classroom as well as through enriching extra-curricular cyber activities with their local community and industry partners.
Schools and colleges that meet all the judging criteria are awarded Gold status – for delivering excellence in cyber security education, Silver schools/colleges are certified for offering good standards and meeting most of the criteria and Bronze for schools/colleges aiming towards high standards.
Successful schools and colleges receive a range of benefits, including official recognition from the NCSC and opportunities to collaborate on cyber related activities with more than 130 CyberFirst partner organisations from industries as varied as banking, telecoms and transport.
The scheme is now open, the closing date for the latest call for applications is 11 December 2020.
To learn more about the scheme, the NCSC will be hosting an online webinar on 12 November 16:30-17:30 for interested schools and colleges in Wales.
For further information and to apply to become a CyberFirst school visit the NCSC CyberFirst website.
The National Digital Exploitation Centre is offering free support with applications.
CyberFirst university bursary and degree apprenticeship
CyberFirst offers hundreds of students a real choice after A Levels or whilst in their first year of university.
- A CyberFirst bursary offers undergraduates £4,000 per year financial assistance and eight weeks paid cyber security training each summer to help kick start their career in cyber.
- A CyberFirst degree apprenticeship allows undergraduates to earn circa £20,000/annum whilst they study for a BSc Hons degree and work at GCHQ.