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Authority looking to train next generation of hackers - to fight cyber crime

By Tom Dare | Wolverhampton | Education | Published:

Students will be taught how to hack computers and how to defend against cyber attacks as part of a new £100,000 initiative by the West Midlands Combined Authority.

A young person getting to grips with the technology - image courtesy of WMCA

Young people from across the region will be given the chance to learn a range of new skills as part of an ethical hacking, computer network and security challenge centre set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Across the UK, small firms are hacked on average every 19 seconds, creating a huge gap in the market for those with knowledge around cyber security.

The project will focus on teaching students a range of ‘key skills’, including: the basics of cyber offence and defence; hands on practice on the most popular hacking techniques; how to apply knowledge of hacking methods to cyber security; an insider perspective on cyber security and the most common cyber attacks.

Once established, the lab will be free to use for learning providers from September onwards, with schools and colleges able to make use of the available resources.

Funding

The WMCA wants training providers to apply for the £100,000 worth of funding in order to set up the new centre.

Matt Jones, chair of the West Midlands Digital Skills Partnership Board, said: “We know that cyber crime is continuing to increase in scale and complexity, affecting essential services, businesses and private individuals.

“Cyber crime costs the UK billions of pounds each year, causes untold damage and threatens national security, so it’s vital that we have a local workforce with the skills needed to combat cyber attacks as they become ever more sophisticated.

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"We know there is a digital skills gap across all industries, and jobs in technology continue to be in high demand even during the lockdown.

“Our young people are our future and we need their contribution to help rebuild our region’s economy in the longer term after the Covid-19 crisis. It’s great that the WMCA is enabling young people to learn new digital skills through innovative training programmes, such as the cyber security and hacking lab.”

For more information visit wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/productivity-skills/hacking-lab-tender/

Tom Dare

By Tom Dare

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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