Gloucestershire College going for gold after earning cyber award
By Rob Freeman | 22nd September 2020
Gloucestershire College has become one of the first recipients of CyberFirst Schools status by the National Cyber Security Centre.
Described as a champion of cyber security and recognised for a first-rate approach to its teaching by the NCSC - part of GCHQ - the college has received a Silver Award.
Gloucestershire College submitted a detailed application to demonstrate commitment to the future of the cyber industry and developing cyber talent which was evaluated and scored against extensive criteria by a panel of representatives from government, industry and academia.
Chief financial officer and vice principal Andy Bates said: "We are excited to be recognised as a CyberFirst School as part of our ongoing commitment to developing cyber talent within Gloucestershire.
"We have strong ambitions to go on to achieve the Gold Award as part of our strategic plan."
We know there is a huge demand for cyber and IT professionals across Gloucestershire and we are fully committed to using our expertise and resources to train students with the skills that local employers need."
He continued: "Our recently appointed status as an Institute of Technology has secured Gloucestershire College £3million to invest in outstanding cyber training facilities, which will make our facilities one of the best in the country, located right next door to both GCHQ and Cheltenham's new Cyber Central Business Park."
One of the key aims for the NCSC is to address the cyber skills gap and inspire young people from all backgrounds to pursue a career in the field.
Since 2018 the NCSC has encouraged collaboration between local schools, the NCSC and both national and local employers who share the aim of engaging young people with the cyber industry, as part of a successful pilot scheme.
NCSC deputy director for cyber growth Chris Ensor, said: "I congratulate the schools on achieving CyberFirst Schools status - they are the first to do so and their award is thoroughly merited.
"The CyberFirst Schools programme will help us set a consistent standard for cyber security education as we continue to develop a diverse and talented next generation of cyber experts."
The success of Gloucestershire College's CyberFirst status is underpinned by a dedicated cyber and computing teaching team.
Head of school for computing Debbie Woodward, said: "We are so proud to be affiliated with CyberFirst and our teaching team wholeheartedly support and share their values in developing the future leaders of the IT and cyber industry."
Minister for apprenticeships and skills Gillian Keegan launched the college's cyber security degree earlier this month and is working with academic sponsor CyNam to provide students with the best education and facilities.
CyNam director Madeline Howard said: "We're delighted Gloucestershire College has been recognised as a CyberFirst School.
"This is an important award which not only demonstrates the fantastic work those at Gloucestershire College are already doing, but indicates they are on a strong path to continue to develop their offering for young people.
"We look forward to supporting Gloucestershire College in helping to excite and inspire their students about the opportunities the cyber security industry has to offer on their doorstep."
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