National Cyber Security Centre sees surge in female applicants for courses

The NCSC said the number of girls applying for the courses increased 47% on last year.

The number of girls applying for cyber security courses has risen by nearly 50% in a year, according to new figures from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

The centre, which is part of GCHQ, announced the increase in female participants for its CyberFirst summer courses alongside figures which showed that overall applications for the course had also risen on last year.

It said the number of female applicants was up 47%, and the overall number of those applying rose by 29%.

The summer courses, held in Cardiff, Belfast, Paisley, Newcastle, Birmingham and London, were designed to allow attendees to explore their interest in computing and technology while also being introduced to cyber security.

The figures were announced on Ada Lovelace Day – an international celebration of women working in the science, technology and engineering (STEM) fields.

NCSC deputy director for growth Chris Ensor said: “We’re 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.

“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.”

The figures were released on the same day that the Institute of Coding (IoC) warned that many young people felt the technology sector was lacking in diversity and equality, with one in 10 put off entering the sector as a result.

Its survey of 16 to 18-year-olds suggested that 70% see the digital tech industry as being run entirely by white men.

The IoC has launched a new scheme to encourage greater diversity within the sector and to promote the diverse range of people already working in the sector.

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