This year’s essential back-to-school lesson plan – FE News

We can’t afford another year of schooling that doesn’t nurture the cyber-confident workforce of the future. Seven out of ten large UK companies were targeted by cyber attackers last year, Yet nearly half of cyber leaders lacked the confidence to instill a zero-trust approach!

The answer is quite clear: education, education, education!

In today’s hyper-connected world, the mission of staying at the forefront of threat actors’ ever-changing bag of tricks is a number one priority. Business is booming for cyber attackers, becoming more sophisticated and invading all walks of life. Getting ahead of a growing threat landscape means adopting the right threat detection mindset and cyber confidence to take proactive steps to meet tomorrow’s cyber challenges.

Tackling cybersecurity issues head-on in the classroom has enormous potential to spark interest and connect young learners to broad career opportunities in the diverse, interesting and forward-looking world of cyberdefense. In addition to charting future career paths, teaching simple yet powerful daily cyber habits can help everyone take action and be part of the solution. Simply put, arming the next generation with cybersecurity knowledge and enthusiasm is at the heart of stopping threat actors from compromising organizations as quickly as they can today.

Why cyber has its place in the classroom

The cybersecurity industry in the UK has seen a rapid increase in investment levels, with 1,800 cybersecurity companies generating record revenue of £10.1 billion in the last financial year alone. Yet despite the UK’s boundless growth and emerging position as a major cyber leader, there is mounting evidence that companies risk being overtaken on the global stage due to supply-side issues. of talent. A 2022 government inquiry on cybersecurity skills in the UK labor market found that around 697,000 (51%) UK businesses reported a lack of basic cybersecurity skills, with staff lacking the necessary technical and incident response skills to effectively manage cybersecurity or a cyber breach.

While the UK may be at the forefront of cyber growth and investment, the findings highlight a persistent skills gap and a surprising lack of cyber confidence. The figures put a new focus on businesses to address the shortage and create a new cyber-confident workforce through investments in training and new development opportunities. With many organizations undergoing digital transformation, this requires employees to adapt with digital skills and cybersecurity experts to continuously re-skill to meet the rapidly changing industry landscape.

However, the need for cybersecurity experts is not the result of digital transformation. Instead, digital transformation has highlighted the need to After cybersecurity specialists. Students are leaving school with a hazy image of what a career in cybersecurity might look like. That said, it starts with schools doing their part to educate students about career opportunities that could play a key role in attracting and retaining the cyber workforce of the future.

Passwords are just the start

Whether it’s the tablet at home or the laptop at school, there is a need for cyber awareness in everyday life. Practicing the basics of cybersecurity is something a lot of people do without realizing it, like passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication on devices. Yet schools need to explore cybersecurity beyond this initial level which has the potential to spark a student’s interest in the industry.

To give students the opportunity to work in the cybersecurity industry, high school teachers and guidance counselors need to be able to communicate cybersecurity career paths. However, sharing these opportunities comes down to teachers and guidance counselors being aware of the sector and the career paths it offers.

It’s a common misconception among high school students that cybersecurity is only trying to break into computer networks. Although this is a specialty of cybersecurity, there is a huge range of other areas that involve; project management, survey, software and product development, consulting, policy development, risk assessment, etc.

How to Approach Cybersecurity Conversations with Students

Technology is continually advancing, which will only create more opportunities for cybersecurity roles in the future. While educating students about the types of careers in cybersecurity is essential, teachers and guidance counselors need to be aware of the skills and qualities the sector needs beyond technical computer and software knowledge. . Once this goal is achieved, it can shed light on the roles students can play.

Technical skills are essential in cybersecurity, but they can be learned, nurtured, and developed throughout a student’s career. Schools must tap into the strengths of each student in hopes of encouraging them to take up positions in cyberspace.

In general, cybersecurity calls on leaders, communicators, researchers, critical minds… the list is long. Having the qualities necessary to fill various roles in the industry can position a student remarkably well when starting out in the industry. Yet it comes down to their high school mentors being able to communicate that a student’s inquisitive nature or presentation skills can be applied to a variety of industries.

Closing that cyber skills gap starts here

Closing the cybersecurity talent gap requires the enthusiasm of the next generation of top cyber advocates, threat analysts, penetration testers, and cybersecurity-minded business leaders. The sooner they gain this enthusiasm, the sooner they will thrive, penetrating the industry and making a difference in UK cyber defences. Organizations’ teachers, mentors and inspirational personalities will be essential to cyber-education that goes beyond passwords and unveils the true scale of this exciting and critical industry.

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