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.

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.

Schools in Wales are invited to enter teams of Year 8 girls ahead of the online qualifying round, which will see them tackle interactive cyber security puzzles spanning topics including logic, networking and cryptography.

The competition consists of two phases:

  • an online qualifying round to identify the top teams in each home nation and English region
  • a final where teams will battle it out in their areas to become the nation or regions winners.

Find out more and register now on the NCSC CyberFirst website.

These extra curriculum free 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.

For further information visit the NCSC CyberFirst website.

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, the NCSC is working with the Welsh Government to appoint a partner organisation that will support existing CyberFirst schools and colleges and help grow the number of new CyberFirst schools and colleges in Wales.

Once the new Welsh partner has been announced, applications for Welsh schools and colleges to gain CyberFirst status will be opened.

Schools and Colleges wishing to apply must be able to 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.

Find out what existing CyberFirst schools and colleges think of the programme. Further background information can be found on the NCSC CyberFirst Schools website.

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.

For further information visit the NCSC CyberFirst website

Cyber Explorers is a new initiative designed to inspire 11-14 year-olds across the UK to pursue interests and subject choices that could take them towards a cyber security career. It aims to support teachers by complementing the school curriculum and to further students’ independent learning. 

The initiative will focus on improving the career prospects and diversity of students that may be open to exploring a technical cyber pathway through the education system. It will achieve this through educational and inspirational content on the learning platform, guiding participants through a series of characters and episodes in order to explore how cyber security is a relevant and exciting subject and career. This will help to inspire children, at a critical age, and make the future study of cyber and digital-related school subjects more attractive. 

Find out more and register now on the Cyber Explorers Website.