30 tech employers sign up to support first ever CyberFirst EmPower event for girls in NI


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  • The countdown is on to the first ever CyberFirst EmPower Girls event to be held in Northern Ireland, which is set to take place at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park next month. The event, sponsored by Aflac Northern Ireland, is aimed at encouraging young girls to consider a career in technology.  

    CyberFirst is a programme of opportunities inspired and led by the UK National Cyber Security Centre to help young people explore their passion for tech and introduce them to the fast-paced world of cyber security.

    Nearly 30 employers who are CyberFirst Industry Supporters have registered to support the new event, which is designed to inspire more girls to explore a career in cyber security.

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    With women making up only 23% of the tech industry in NI, EmPower Girls aims to address this imbalance by raising awareness of the variety of roles on offer in tech and cyber security as part of a high energy, immersive experience.

    250 girls aged 11-12 from 12 schools across Northern Ireland will hear a keynote speech from cyber security expert Lisa Forte before taking part in breakout sessions, live cyber security demos and exciting competitions with fantastic prizes. They will also get the chance to meet members of the Northern Ireland women’s football team.

    The event, which takes place on Tuesday 30th of April at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, will welcome Year 8 pupils from schools in Belfast, Derry-Londonderry, Newry, Ballymena, Bangor and Ballycastle.

    Eamonn Brankin, CyberFirst NI Regional Lead, said: “We are excited that CyberFirst has enabled us to bring this first event of its kind to Northern Ireland. We had 12 schools sign up to take all places at the event within minutes, showing there is huge demand for this kind of careers-focused experience. We plan to grow this event, and CyberFirst’s other outreach in Northern Ireland in future.”

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    Victoria Logan, Cyber Security Communications Delivery Lead at Aflac NI and CyberFirst Ambassador, said: “EmPower Girls is designed to identify and nurture talent, providing a unique opportunity for Year 8 girls to explore the world of cyber security.

    “This event connects students with Northern Ireland’s cyber security community and is supported by industry leaders, providing opportunities for companies to engage in future events. We want to inspire those currently working in the sector to help encourage the next generation. This will be the first of many CyberFirst initiatives in Northern Ireland.”

    Tom Trainor, VP & Head of Cyber Security at Aflac Northern Ireland, key sponsors of the event, said: “At Aflac Northern Ireland, providing opportunities for continuous learning and innovation isn't just a nice to have, it's a core part of who we are and how we operate. The CyberFirst EmPower Girls event is an amazing way to showcase the wide range of careers available in cyber security and we are excited to support the first ever event of its kind here in Northern Ireland."

    Keynote speaker Lisa Forte is a highly respected Cyber Security expert. Her career began with her work to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia, followed by a role in UK Counter Terrorism Intelligence and one of the UK Police Cyber Crime Units. In 2017, she co-founded Red Goat Cyber Security and has become one of the most prominent voices in the industry.

    The event will include other presentations from keynote speakers, interactive demos and an opportunity to engage with inspirational females in the industry.

    Source: Written from press release 

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