The skills council for the UK, e-skills, has teamed up with BT, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Fujitsu, BP and CREST to launch an interactive cyber security module for its schools ‘Behind the Screen’ project.

E-skills’ latest research identifies security and data protection skills as a top priority for employers going forward, and with cyber-crime costing the UK £27 billion a year, it believes there is a pressing need to improve cyber security skills in schools.

Supported by infographics, games and audio guides, the module introduces the core principles of cyber security including awareness and planning, computer forensics, security practices and principles, privacy and ethics, and online interaction.

It will be incorporated into the ‘Behind the Screen’ project, which is e-skills’ working title to create a new computing GCSE. It is designed in partnership with teachers, students, universities and employers, and hopes to equip young people with a wide variety of technology skills.

Tim Harwood, Digital Security Capability & Awareness Lead at BP, said; “e-skills UK research shows cyber security to be one of the leading concerns for businesses within and beyond the IT industry.”

He added: “It’s imperative that we educate young people about potential threats, but more importantly we need to equip the future talent of the UK economy with the knowledge and skills to tackle real-world challenges.”

E-skills has developed guidance and resources for teachers, which includes access to lesson plans, guides, presentations and a log to help them assess students’ progress.

In other news, the UK’s first academic research institute to investigate the ‘science of cyber security’ has been launched with the backing of UK spying centre GCHQ.

The ‘virtual’ institute, which was funded by a £3.8 million government grant, is part of a cross-government commitment towards increasing the nation’s academic capability in all fields of cyber security.