Entrepreneur Blackburn’s tech company to run cybersecurity project in Lancashire schools

An entrepreneur-led technology company from Blackburn has been named a North West Delivery Partner for a CyberFirst Schools pilot project, run by GCHQ’s National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC).

Mo Isap, who leads innovation hub HOST, the home of skills and technology in MediaCity, will help champion e-education in the region’s North West Cyber ​​Corridor.

Through its flagship Skills City operation, HOST will offer the CyberFirst Schools pilot project over a one-year period to more than 500 schools and colleges in the North West to inspire more young people to explore careers in cybersecurity.

The collaboration will further increase equitable access to technology careers, particularly for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented groups, including girls and young women, where representation in the sector is significantly low, women are not representing only 22% of the UK’s cyber workforce.

The CyberFirst Schools initiative rewards schools and colleges across the UK that are committed to encouraging young people to develop cyber skills, with the NCSC awarding them gold, silver or bronze status.

Since the initiative’s launch in 2020, 49 CyberFirst schools and colleges have been recognized, helping to develop cyberskills ecosystems across the country and closing the industry’s cyberskills gap.

The final of the CyberFirst Girls 2022 competition was also held at HOST in Salford and aimed to inspire girls aged 12-13 to consider pursuing a career in cybersecurity.

HOST, operated by the Preston-based IN4 Group, which is led by Mr Isap, will draw on its extensive network of local and national employers to facilitate engagement between industry and schools in the region.

This will allow more young people to access opportunities, such as mentorship and work experience, outside of the classroom and in the growing tech sector.

It will work with leading regional industry and academic partners, including BAE Systems, Raytheon, Siemens, AWS, University of Central Lancashire and University of Salford, to drive investment in schools and tech talent at the University. test of time.

Mo Isap, CEO of IN4 Group, said: “Being born and raised in Blackburn, it’s fantastic to see such great prospects for Lancashire as well as Greater Manchester, and we now have a significant opportunity to inspire future generations in technology careers with the CyberFirst program. .

“It will have a huge impact on young people in the region, who currently live in places like Salford, Accrington and Blackpool.

“Bringing together education, skills, technology and industry is the key to creating prosperity in the region.

“With the UK Government investing over £5 billion in its new National Cyber ​​Force in Samlesbury, Lancashire, the region is paving the way for further innovation and skills to be established as part of of the emerging North West Cyber ​​Corridor.”

The contract follows HOST’s successful delivery of three rounds of GCHQ’s Innovation Co-Lab – a program that aimed to find innovative start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses in the North West.

Successful companies participated in a 12-week program to work with GCHQ technologists and industry experts to improve their products.

HOST also hosted the first North West Cyber ​​Summit in March to support Cyber ​​Corridor construction.

NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber ​​Growth, Chris Ensor, said, “NCSC is committed to providing opportunities for young people to excel in cybersecurity, and our work with industry plays a critical role in this.

“We are delighted that HOST is piloting our CyberFirst Schools initiative in the North West on our behalf and welcome their support in developing the region’s e-skills ecosystem.”

The CyberFirst program offers a range of free opportunities aimed at providing young people with the skills, opportunities and exposure they need to thrive in cybersecurity.

More information about CyberFirst opportunities in the North West can be found on the HOST website.

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