Cyber Security Education Ecosystem

Image thanks to Acer

Last week I was in town three days in a row, once, on the Thursday for the opening of Aspire’s amazing new premises on the Gateshead side of the Swing Bridge. The other two were to meet up with colleagues from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). It wouldn’t take Hercule Piorot to work out that this was on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

For some reason I wanted to talk about the Wednesday before coming back to the day before. I am writing these blogs backwards.

Since its inception, the NCSC has had a remit to try and get more young people into the cyber security sector, especially from underrepresented groups. As an example it has been running its CyberFirst programme which CyberNorth has been supporting.

To make greater inroads it has set up a number of regional initiatives and on the back of this wanted a better understanding of the regional education ecosystem, especially in relation to cyber security. For more people to enter the industry, more students need to be taking an interest during their school days. To this effect, a group of us gathered in the Maldron Hotel in the centre of Newcastle. 

I have some knowledge of the learning sector yet it is not as widespread as my focus on the commercial sector. Obviously the two are intertwined in this context as one is a consumer of the output of the other. It turned out that I knew most of the people in the room. Some I had met directly, while others I had heard of or our paths had crossed at sometime. I made some new acquaintances and reaffirmed others.

The meat of the event was to try and map out all of the players in the ecosystem, which very much builds upon the work that we have been doing at CyberNorth over the last months. We went old school and used flip charts and repositionable notes to list everyone we could think of in industry, education, public sector, not individual organisations but rather types.

As the flip charts filled up I was reminded how complex the cyber security sector is, primarily as it is an underpinning technology. It runs through everything which is why it is so difficult to pin down. In essence everyone is involved, to differing degrees and mapping this out is going to be some challenge. 

Darren, from the NCSC, took away all the details and I wish him the best of luck.

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