Cyber Security

The OU and Cisco offer girls and young women cyber security training

6th February 2024
Sheryl Miles

As cyber security threats increase worldwide, there is a greater need than ever for a skilled, diverse cyber workforce.

To address this gap, The Open University (OU) and Cisco have joined forces to create the Cisco Networking Academy Cyber Camps. This initiative provides free, remote, self-paced training for students in the UK, aged 13–19, who identify as female or non-binary.

The courses will allow young women to learn industry-ready cyber security skills, while also engaging in forums hosted by experienced Cisco Networking Academy instructors, attending online webinars, and embarking on soft skills training.

This project is supported by female cyber security experts from all corners of the UK. Offered as a collection of short, industry ready course, each participant can collect digital badges, to evidence their participation, as well as prepare for professional accreditation.

There are four enrolment dates each year, with the first starting in July. Participants enrol in sprints, which are self-paced so can be completed in your own time.

Andrew Smith, Senior Lecturer in Networking at the OU, said: “The biggest challenge for the cyber security sector, is the skills shortage and our ability to discover the right talent. This is amplified by the unpleasant reality that far too few young women come into the sector. Our aim is to help tip the balance in the right direction.”

Elizabeth Barr, Head of the Cisco Networking Academy UK & Ireland, said: “The Cisco Cyber Camps strives to address the pressing challenge of underrepresentation of women in tech. We want to offer participants a glimpse into a potential career in cyber, creating an inclusive space for diverse learners, and breaking down gender barriers to foster an environment that promotes equal opportunities.”

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