UK Cyber Schools Programme
Cyber Schools Programme aimed at training thousands of teenagers in the UK Reuters/David Becker

The UK plans to impart cybersecurity training to thousands of teenagers to protect the country against online threats.

Dubbed Cyber Schools Programme, it is aimed at encouraging schoolchildren to develop cybersecurity skills.

The government has set apart up to £20m for the extracurricular school programme which would see experts teaching, testing and training teenagers.

The programme is aimed at students aged between 14 and 18 and children from all backgrounds, including those underrepresented in cybersecurity jobs. The programme is led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) with a target to train at least 5,700 teenagers by 2021.

According to data shared by the Tech Partnership, there are about 58,000 cybersecurity specialists in the sector worth £22bn a year.

Students enrolling for the programme will spend about four hours a week. The training would include classroom-based and online-teaching. It would be a four-year programme and delivered in modules, meaning older students can join any point of time if they meet the criteria.

This is a part of the government's National Cyber Security Programme to "find, finesse and fast-track future online security experts".

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, in a statement on 11 February said: "This forward-thinking programme will see thousands of the best and brightest young minds given the opportunity to learn cutting-edge cyber security skills alongside their secondary school studies. We are determined to prepare Britain for the challenges it faces now and in the future and these extracurricular clubs will help identify and inspire future talent."