Five things we learnt from #BeTheChange, the second NCSC Cyber Schools Hub event
Last week saw the second NCSC Cyber Schools Hub event supported by CyNam, hosted at hub8 and sponsored by InfoSec People. Following on from the incredible feedback from both schools and our industry contacts following the first event back in December, we were really excited to create something even more valuable this time!
Due to popular demand, we changed the format to include a panel of students who are influencing the cyber scene in their schools and communities, and we were so glad we did! Young people bring a different viewpoint and perspective to what we perceive as issues; here are the top five takeaways from #BeTheChange:
- Students really want diversity in the workforce. It comes up time and again in discussions surrounding tech – especially when the perceived ‘skills gap’ is mentioned – but the conversation around gender runs much deeper than levelling the playing field in terms of numbers. Students recognise that diversity is beneficial as people who have different experiences bring different ideas to the table. This concept extends far beyond just adding more females to the workforce, with discussions also surrounding neurodiversity, career journeys and socio-economical differences. If six people of a similar age, gender and background try to solve a problem, they will all offer similar solutions. Six very different people will bring six different ideas and are far more likely to collaborate to find a workable solution. Some diversity is not enough for this generation: diversity must mean equality and inclusivity for all, regardless of whether your face ‘fits’.
- Employers also really want diversity in the workforce. Happily, students are pushing against an open door here, as all our speakers (who are employers from businesses of all sizes and backgrounds) want more diverse workforces too! From their talks and the response to questions, there is clearly an increasing recognition that the best decisions and plans are made when people of different opinions and experiences collaborate!
- Passion can lead you whenever you want to go. Hard work and determination are obviously important, but what shone through from our student panel was their passion for cyber and technology. Not only did they give phenomenal and inspiring talks, but all the speakers were invited to join a STEM panel at the Cheltenham Science Festival and between speakers and attendees there have already been six offers of work experience and a summer internship secured!
- Students ask better questions than adults. We already knew this from the last school event we sponsored, but we were blown away once more by some of the more insightful questions, in particular “As a man, do you feel de-prioritised by all of the focus on women?” (The answer from all three men on that panel was a resounding NO!)
- The future of cyber technology looks really, really bright! The panel of five students, aged 13-18, consisted of speeches with titles such as “You cannot be, what you cannot see!” and “Genius has no race. Strength has no Gender. Courage has no limits.” As a panel they faced some tough questions from our industry experts but they didn’t even flinch, giving insightful and thought provoking answers. These are just FIVE out of hundreds of enthusiastic and inspiring students involved in the Cyber Schools Hub initiative and we are so excited to see what the future holds!