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EmPowerCyber Event

Amiosec support ‘EmPowerCyber’ with a cryptography workshop for Y8 girls


22nd November, 2019


Oxstalls Tennis Centre   


On Friday 22nd November, 800 Y8 girls from across Gloucestershire and the surrounding area got together to attend EmPowerCyber – the first event of its kind in the UK where 16 industries and two universities presented workshops that showed the diversity of careers available within the cyber security industry. The event was organised by the NCSC’s Cyber Schools Hub project. 

The event was split into four categories – Cyber Security, Cryptography, Logic & Coding and Networking. Amiosec were proud to support the event and provided a Cryptography workshop, where the girls had to put on their detective caps and find out information about our missing CEO in order to gain access to her emails, decrypt a message and defuse a bomb all before the time ran out!

The day started with an introduction from Dr Jessica Barker, co-founder of Cygenta who aim to demystify cyber security by bringing together the human, technical, physical and business dimensions of this field. She explained about the many different jobs that are available in the cyber industry and expressed to the girls that this industry is as much for girls as it is for boys, reminding the girls that the first programmers were women. Unfortunately there remains a stigma that engineering careers in general are better suited to males rather than femals, but events like EmPowerCyber are helping to change this perception and show females that they belong in STEM careers.

The afternoon session started with a talk from Jacqui Chard, Deputy Director of NCSC, who encouraged the girls to take part in the CyberFirst Girls Competition which aims to support Y8 girls interested in a career in cyber security. Registration for the competition opens on the 2nd December and more information can be found here.

The day was a great success, running eight workshops of 25 minutes each to 200 Y8 girls. The girls that we interacted with were very excited and got fully involved in the workshop, loving the fact that it was a detective theme and that they would get to decipher some encrypted messages. There were students that were unsure at the start of the event and lacked confidence but became enthused about the subject at hand once they realised that they were capable and understood a lot more than they thought. It was these girls that we think we helped to spark an interest in STEM, and we hope that they continue to be curious and engage with all the opportunities presented to them.

Finally, each workshop ended with some empowering music and the girls writing their feedback on sticky notes which they placed along all the walls, creating a lovely rainbow wall of feedback. We were pleased to receive a lot of positive feedback from students:

  • “I liked that we could work together as a team”
  • “Very fun! I think that the detective theme was very cool”
  • “This was my favourite activity because I like to do stuff like this and I enjoy the detective theme”
  • “It was fun decoding messages”
  • “We had a lot of fun doing this activity. It is the best one”

At Amiosec, we care about encouraging and supporting the next generation of engineers, and we fully support initiatives like the NCSC’s Cyber Schools Hub project which allows us to interact with some fantastic students from schools across the county. We were very privileged to be one of 16 industries supporting the EmPowerCyber event, and hope the event runs again next year.    

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