The next generation of cyber experts are being nurtured in a unique training course.

Students from across Cumbria and as far as Manchester have been getting a glimpse inside the world of digital security in a five-day programme.

This week and over the next fortnight around 130 students aged 13 to 17 will be enrolled in the CyberFirst scheme, a government recognised programme, developed by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre and run by Energus in West Cumbria.

Based at Energus’ Cyber Lab, tutors Brad Cleaver and Drew Cronmer are leading the way.

Mr Cleaver said around 35,000 people are employed in the industry in Europe and about 10,000 in the United Kingdom.

He said: “It is a growing industry. We are so interconnected that, while we might not face another millennium bug scenario, there are always going to be new issues to tackle.

“Twenty years ago we didn’t have the internet in our homes. Now we have it on our computers, smart phones, smart TVs and even appliances such as washing machines.

“We are more connected in so many more ways than we have ever been and this increases the need for cyber security.

“This money is being invested to make the UK a safe place to live.”

The industry has several branches. There are those trained to stop cyber incidents, managers, technicians designing the latest security programmes and penetration testers who check on the vulnerability of a system.

The three weeks of Cyber Lab classes at Energus will deal with different levels of cyber security but all aimed at showing that this is an industry with a future.

Training includes sessions on security devices, understanding and securing business networks, dealing with insecure devices, computer forensics and open source intelligence techniques.

The STEM-related course underpins the skills and knowledge needed to prepare young people for the complex field of cyber security.

The drive to encourage more people into a career in the field is part of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s (NDA) goal to close the skills gap in cyber security.

Frank Rainford, the NDA’s Group Director of Security and Corporate Services, said: “Cyber security and resilience is vital to the NDA and its businesses.

“And encouraging young people into cyber-related careers will go a long way in helping to keep us, and the wider nuclear industry, safe from future cyber threats.”