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NCSC records “significant rise” in female applicants for security courses

The number of girls applying to take part in the National Cyber Security Centre’s summer courses has increased by nearly 50 per cent in the last year.

To mark Ada Lovelace Day on Tuesday (8 October), NCSC revealed that 930 girls had applied to its Cyber First summer programme in 2019, up from 630 the year before.

The data suggests the centre’s efforts to encourage more female candidates to pursue a career in cyber security are starting to pay off. The government hopes that by closing the gender gap in the tech sector, where women make up just 17 per cent of the workforce, it will also be able to tackle the digital skills shortage.

Chris Ensor, NCSC’s deputy director for growth, said he was “delighted to see so many young people interested in finding out more about cyber security. The significant rise in female applications is especially pleasing, and something we want to see continue into the future.”

The NCSC runs a series of summer courses designed to encourage people to explore how technology works. It also provides £4,000 bursaries to students who study cyber security at university, as well as paid work placements.

Amy Lemberger, director of cyber security at the GSMA, the trade body for mobile network operators, said: “The CyberFirst courses show young people how diverse and exciting a career in cyber security can be.”

Ensor added: “It’s never been more important to increase and diversify the cyber security workforce and we’re committed to nurturing the next generation of skilled experts and addressing the gender imbalance.”