The UK government has just outlined plans to teach children as young as 11 about careers in cyber-security. These new proposals were welcomed by the Cyber Security Skills Alliance. Speaking on its behalf, Sir David Pepper said a national shortage of cyber skills was “a key issue” for businesses and the government in dealing with “the growing threat from cyber-crime”.

Cyber Security Teaching

The Department for Business, Innovations and Skills has said that new learning materials would be offered to UK schools to announce jobs in that sector. A report recently started that limited awareness of cyber-security as a profession had created a skills shortage in that field with one expert saying the UK was at risk of being “left behind and at a disadvantage globally.” Security consultant Graham Cluley explained, “There’s no doubt that as more and more of our lives rely upon the internet, the need for a capable, security-savvy workforce increases…Of course, this goes beyond private enterprises…The authorities, including the police and intelligence agencies, need experts in computer security to combat online criminals and thwart internet attacks” He added: “My worry would be that public authorities will not have the budget to properly pay for cyber-security expertise, and the best talent will remain in silos in private enterprise instead.”

The latest plans have outlined that teachers would be given training in how to enlighten children about this ever-evolving subject.  Universities and science minister David Willetts said, “Today countries that can manage cyber security risks have a clear competitive advantage…By ensuring cyber-security is integral to education at all ages, we will help equip the UK with the professional and technical skills we need for long-term economic growth.”

The National Audit Office said only last month that a lack of skilled workers was hindering the UK’s wrestling against cyber-crime.  What is slightly worrying, is the watchdog had heard from experts who thought it could take “up to 20 years to address the skills gap”.  Additional to the learning materials required for the 11 to 14-age range, apprenticeship schemes for older pupils would be developed, along with work experience at ‘relevant’ firms.

What do you think? Should we put more resources into cyber security?  Do you think we have a skills shortage? If you have any sensible comments regarding this story, please leave your comments in the section below.

[Image via newsworks]