HPE Cyber Island

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Risks, leaks and hacks: HPE and the TechFuture Girls introduce cyber security skills to a new generation of girls

Schoolgirls across the UK are fending off ‘cyber baddies’ as part of an interactive cyber security resource, created with generous sponsorship from Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Protect the Island teaches girls aged 9-14 the importance of cyber security in business and everyday life through a set of online challenges and videos.

The new island introduces students to basic security concepts and invites them to consider how they can keep themselves and others safe online. It then takes them to a virtual office where they are asked to detect cyber threats, and fend off raiders intent on destroying the island. It is one of ten learning modules available in the TechFuture Girls programme, each teaching skills ranging from coding to video editing.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the Platinum Sponsor of TechFuture Girls, and is also encouraging its employees to get involved and help demonstrate the resource in schools. Emma Hopson, a Systems Analyst at HPE, said she was motivated to get involved with the club by her experiences working in tech in the 90s, when she was aware of the lack of women in the discipline.

“A lot of progress has been made since I started but women still aren’t as keen to join IT as men,” she said. “This club has been a real eye-opener for me to see how switched-on young children are. It’s incredible what they can do already. They’re very keen and it’s just a joy to work with them all.”

Richard Taylor, Assistant Head Teacher at St Mary’s Primary School in Twickenham, said the club had brought a new confidence to the pupils taking part. “I can see a difference in lots of the girls. Emma is such a good role model for children. Someone who’s working in the IT industry can really inspire girls to go into a career that perhaps they might not have considered.”

Although the number of tech of students choosing computing GCSEs doubled in 2015, only 16% of these students were girls.

Jacqui Ferguson, Senior Vice President, UK & Ireland, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, said: “HPE has a long-standing commitment to TechFuture Girls and the HPE Cyber Island is a natural development of this. Cyber security skills are important to all of us and the island will help girls develop them, while building their broad tech competence and confidence. We still have a long way to go in fixing the gender gap in tech but the enthusiasm of the teachers, girls and volunteers taking part in this scheme is so encouraging.”

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