Girls from Co Down school only NI team to reach final of UK-wide cyber contest

  • Our Lady and St Patrick's College in Co Down was the only Northern Ireland school to reach the final of a UK-wide cybersecurity competition this week. 

    The virtual CyberFirst Girls Competition is ran by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and aims to inspire young females into considering a career in cybersecurity – a field where women are still under-represented in the UK, making up an estimated 15% of the sector workforce.

    Now in its fifth year, more than 600 schools across the nation entered the 2021 competition.

    Neha, Ola, Megan and Erin from Our Lady and St Patrick's College placed in the top 10 out of over 1,600 teams. 

    Over 6,500 girls aged 12 - 13 entered the contest.

    Reaching the final meant that the Northern Ireland girls are among the top 40 codebreakers in their age group across the UK.

    RELATED: Allstate NI encouraging local schools to get cyber-savvy with free resources

    Cybersecurity Awareness and Communication Specialist, Victoria Logan facilitated the competition on behalf of the NCSC and her company, Allstate NI. 

    She said that the girls "did an amazing job and really enjoyed it."

    Chris Ensor, NCSC Deputy Director for Cyber Growth added, “It’s inspiring to see girls up and down the country engaging in the competition with such enthusiasm and skill, and we hope many will consider taking their interest in cyber security further.

    “By offering girls the opportunity to develop new skills, the CyberFirst Girls Competition plays an important role in improving gender diversity in cybersecurity, and thanks to support from teachers and industry partners, it continues to be a great success," he concluded.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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