A new university technical college opening in Surrey aims to encourage more women to choose careers tackling cyber crime.
University Technical College Guildford – Surrey’s first UTC – will train the next generation of cyber security, computing and engineering experts to help meet growing demand from employers.
With women significantly under-represented in computer science and engineering, the college plans to set aside up to 50 per cent of places for girls. All girls who apply and qualify for a place will be accepted until half the college’s intake has been filled.
A public consultation on the college was launched this week just days after news emerged that hackers stole data from 500 million Yahoo email users. It also emerged that MI6 is seeking to hire almost 1,000 more recruits to keep pace with advances in technology and the internet and that a new National Cyber Security Centre is opening in London with 700 staff.
The college is set to open in Guildford for 720 students aged 14 to 19. The group behind the college includes Surrey County Council, global information technology and business services company CGI and Royal Holloway, University of London as well as Guildford College and Guildford Education Partnership.
The college, due to open in September 2018, will specialise in engineering and computer science. With cyber crime posing an ever-growing threat, young people will learn about cyber security as part of their studies.
More information about UTC Guildford and a link to the consultation, which includes proposals for its admissions policy, can be found on the college’s website. Prospective students, parents, employers and members of the community are encouraged to have their say. There will also be a series of drop-in events about the college in October and November.
Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Educational Achievement, said: “With online crime posing an escalating threat to our burgeoning digital economy, we need to look to the whole of our pupil population to find the next generation of cyber experts which is why we are seeking to achieve a balanced intake of boys and girls.
“The university technical college we’re creating will arm students with the expertise they need to secure the jobs of the future and protect businesses, government and the general public from cyber attacks, with the added benefit of easing the immense pressure on school places.”
Professor Paul Hogg, Vice Principal and Dean of Science at Royal Holloway, said: “Our future workforce depends on bright minds with skills that can lead us in the fight against cyber crime, and contribute to our growing digital economy. Our expertise in information security, certified by GCHQ, makes us ideally placed to deliver skills that meet these cutting-edge challenges.
“Royal Holloway was the first institution in the UK to award degrees to women. We continue to uphold values of education for all, enabling women to succeed in underrepresented areas such as technology and engineering. We look forward to seeing the first graduates of UTC Guildford represent diversity in the drive towards a safe cyber future.”