Future cyber skills put to the test

By Ged Henderson

19 Apr 2024

75 12 04 24

Lancaster University teamed up with the National Cyber Force (NCF) to deliver a trailblazing ‘hackathon’ event for cyber experts of the future.

The event, the first of its kind delivered by the NCF, saw some of the North West’s brightest young cyber talent put to the test.

Held within cutting-edge computer labs at Lancaster University, the hackathon is one of the first major initiatives held by the NCF ahead of its move to its new home at Samlesbury in 2025.

It was a result of collaboration between the NCF, Lancaster University and alumni of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) CyberFirst programme – an initiative created by the NCSC to help inspire and develop future cyber professionals.

Providing a series of rapid computer engineering challenges, the hackathon’s participants worked quickly in teams to create new software and hardware while supported by CyberFirst alumni experts.

These activities were designed to teach participants about a range of emerging technologies, how they work and how they can be exploited by cyber criminals – invaluable knowledge to help detect and defend against cyber-attacks.

Around 40 young people attended the event. They were selected undergraduate students from the North West region who are participating in the CyberFirst programme.

Support for the hackathon was also provided by the Ministry of Defence’s Cyber Specialist Unit, part of the Joint Cyber Reserve Force, who helped to develop the challenges and facilitate the day.

Air Vice-Marshal Tim Neal-Hopes, Commander of the National Cyber Force, said: “NCF is committed to nurturing the interests of young people, particularly in the realms of digital and STEM subjects.

“Our first hackathon, supported by Lancaster University, forms part of a range of activities we are sponsoring in the North West.

“These are aimed at higher and further education students as well as graduates, to give them an insight into real world challenges and fulfilling career opportunities, and support employability and digital skills development.

“We look forward to building on our engagement activity in the county in the run up to 2025 and our arrival in Samlesbury.”

 

Daniel Prince, professor in cyber security at Lancaster University, said: “It is great to work alongside the National Cyber Force to help develop the skills pipeline of young cyber professionals that will be key to ensure the future security of the UK.

“Cyber skills are in high demand and it’s wonderful to see, through this event and other activities Lancaster University is engaged in, that there are so many talented people from the North West developing their skills and exploring cyber as a career.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Ged Henderson

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