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UK.gov to train up 11-year-old cyberwarriors

Biz-backed scheme aims to create white hat apprentices

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British schoolkids as young as 11 will be trained in cyber security as part of a new drive to protect the UK from digital threats.

The government will produce learning materials designed to get 11- to 14-year-olds up to speed on cyber security.

If the kids show a willingness to strap on a keyboard and fight in some foreign corner of the internet, they will be able to take part in higher-level and advanced cyber-security apprenticeships.

The scheme was announced in a report entitled "Cyber Security Skills: Business Perspectives and Government’s Next Steps" which is published today.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: "Today countries that can manage cyber security risks have a clear competitive advantage.

"By ensuring cyber security is integral to education at all ages, we will help equip the UK with the professional and technical skills we need for long-term economic growth."

The plans in the new report were directly inspired by chats with business leaders.

As well as "UK employer-led cyber security higher and advanced level apprenticeship schemes", there will be special lessons aimed at Key Stage Three (age 11-14) pupils.

A Massive Open Online Course will be set up for interested pupils, whilst an educational scheme called Secure Futures will roll out in London and Manchester.

Sir David Pepper, of the Cyber Security Skills Alliance, said: "We warmly welcome this report and the actions it proposes. It is clear from this and our own research that the national shortage of cyber skills is a key issue for businesses and government in the fight against the growing threat from cyber crime.

"We will work closely with the government and industry in support of this programme, in particular to help establish career paths in cyber security and improve recruitment and training." ®

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