Innovation hub HOST, the Home of Skills and Technology has been appointed as the North West delivery partner for a pilot of CyberFirst Schools, run by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre, to champion cyber education in the region’s North West Cyber Corridor.
HOST, operated by Preston-based IN4 Group, will draw on its extensive local and national employer network to help facilitate engagement between industry and schools in the region.
It will deliver the CyberFirst Schools pilot over a one-year period to over 500 schools and colleges from across the North West to inspire more young people to explore careers in cyber security.
It will be working with leading industry and regional academic partners including BAE Systems, Raytheon, Siemens, AWS, University of Central Lancashire and University of Salford, to drive further investment into schools and future-proof technology talent.
The contract follows HOST’s delivery of three rounds of GCHQ’s Innovation Co-Lab – a programme which aimed to find innovative start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses in the North West. Successful companies took part in a 12-week programme to work with GCHQ technologists and industry experts to improve their products. HOST also held the first North West Cyber Summit in March to support the building of the Cyber Corridor.
Mo Isap, chief executive of IN4 Group which has its offices at The Media Factory at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, said: “It’s fantastic to see these great prospects for Lancashire as well as Greater Manchester, and now we have a significant opportunity to inspire future generations into technology careers with the CyberFirst programme.
"This will have a huge impact on young people across the region. The bringing together of education, skills, technology and industry is the key enabler to creating prosperity in the region.
“With the UK government’s investment of more than £5bn into its new National Cyber Force in Samlesbury, the region is leading the way to establish further innovation and skills as part of the emerging North West Cyber Corridor.”