Schools celebrated for cyber education

By Tim Aldred

10 Jul 2023

CyberFirst Celebration L R Lauren Monks Director Of Careers Education Programmes At IN4 Group Charlotte From Winstanley College Defence Secretary Ben Wallace Norbert From Moor Park High School And Sixth Form Wide Low Res

Several Lancashire schools and colleges have been recognised for supporting cyber skills education.

A new report shows that the pioneering CyberFirst Schools & Colleges programme backed by global tech businesses and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has resulted in £1.57m of social impact in less than 12 months - equivalent to £2.57 for every £1 spent.

The programme is an initiative set up by the NCSC, a part of GCHQ, and delivered by Blackburn-based IN4 Group in the North West. It has been launched to encourage a more diverse range of young people to pursue careers in the cyber sector. 

The programme is focused on the most disadvantaged and deprived communities with more than 35 per cent of the students supported by the pupil premium, which is a grant given to schools from the government to improve the education of underprivileged children. 

There has been an investment of over £600,000 and a contribution of more than 2,200 hours dedicated to the CyberFirst North West programme from across the public and private sector, including its Apex partners: IBM, Northrop Grumman, KPMG UK, QinetiQ, Roke and BT.

IN4, led by Blackburn entrepreneur Mo Isap, specialises in enabling regional ecosystems to scale and has a blueprint for others can adopt to create sustainable impact and growth across the UK.

CyberFirst North West has exceeded targets in its first year with 13 schools being awarded formal recognitions and 29 events facilitated to promote and encourage an interest in cyber.

The Lancashire schools earning the silver award were Montgomery Academy, 
Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School, Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School, Fleetwood High School and Academy@Worden. Moor Park High School & Sixth Form also earned the bronze award.

Runshaw College and Cardinal Newman College both earned the gold award.

Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defence and MP for Wyre and Preston North, spoke at a celebration event held at BAE Systems’ site in Samlesbury. 

He said: “By opening up opportunities for young people to build exciting careers in cyber skills in the North West, we are expanding the range of durable careers in this area, bringing both benefits to those involved and the wider community. 

“This is absolutely about up-skilling and levelling-up and I am hugely heartened to see the investment and progress being made.”

Mo Isap, CEO of IN4 Group, said: “By providing this comprehensive support to schools and colleges, the pioneering CyberFirst North West programme strives to ignite a passion for cyber security among young minds and cultivate a more diverse and inclusive talent pool.

"Having laid the foundations of our unique innovation blueprint in the establishment of the North West Cyber Corridor, this is a hardwired invested collaboration spanning across public and private sectors, and in return, we are realising the true value of the investment the government is making in the region through the National Cyber Force.

“This is a significant opportunity to inspire the next generation, the bringing together of education, skills, technology, and industry is the key enabler to creating prosperity in communities across the UK. It will only further galvanise and grow the existing collaborative and mutually beneficial working relationships."

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