Authority looking to train next generation of hackers –

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 offense 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.

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

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

“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. 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.”

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