Allstate Northern Ireland has teamed up with the National Cyber Security Centre to provide a week-long programme aimed at encouraging more young women to pursue careers in the booming cybersecurity industry.
The CyberFirst Girls Defenders course is a key part of the U.K. government’s National Cyber Security Programme and provides a broad range of activities designed to give young people the support, skills and experiences they need to pursue a career in cybersecurity. Fifty girls aged 13-14 recently attended the programme, hosted at Allstate’s Belfast offices.
The girls spent the week receiving valuable introductions to the tools, knowledge and skills required to build and protect small networks and personal devices, all while residing at Queen’s University Belfast.
John Healy, vice president and managing director, Allstate Northern Ireland said:
“At Allstate, we are committed to inspiring the next generation of cyber professionals and promoting gender diversity.”
“It’s an exciting time for the tech sector in Northern Ireland, specifically for cybersecurity. This is a real growth industry with the potential to boost the Northern Ireland economy, and we want to encourage women and girls to be a part of it.”
The tech sector in Northern Ireland has experienced rapid growth recently, with a report finding that turnover from digital tech companies has reached £1.3bn. A significant and vital part of this growing industry is in the area of cybersecurity.
The U.K. is a world leader in cybersecurity, and many industry firms are headquartered in Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the cybersecurity industry is on course to generate combined salaries of over £70m each year and employ almost 1,700 people.
Despite the growth in the sector and the opportunities this growth presents, women’s representation in the sector remains low. The U.K. government has created the CyberFirst Girls Defenders course as a way to encourage greater participation among young women.