Teens Tackle Cyber Security Programme

Cyber experts of the future were given a unique glimpse inside the world of digital security during a four-day programme designed to encourage young people into the industry

Students at the CyberFirst course hosted at Energus, Workington

Students at the CyberFirst course hosted at Energus, Workington

Around 45 students, aged 13 to 17, have taken part in the CyberFirst scheme, a government-recognised programme, developed by GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre and run by Energus in west Cumbria.

The group worked alongside industry specialists to gain an insight into the critical role they could play in securing the nation’s digital infrastructure and services.

Training took place in a cyber lab environment, all aimed at giving the students a realistic experience of working in the cyber industry.

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

It included sessions on security devices, understanding networks, dealing with insecure devices, and securing yourself.

Cyber security and resilience has become a priority for industry and in January the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) funded the launch of the Cyber Lab classroom at Energus, with the aim of closing the skills gap in cyber security.

It forms part of an NDA cyber programme that is designed to grow capability and capacity for the NDA and its businesses, bolstered by an £80 million investment over the next 5 years in cyber safety.

Brad Cleaver, Business Services Manager at Energus, who ran the CyberFirst course, said:

We started recruiting for this course in October through drop-in sessions at schools across Cumbria. CyberFirst is an opportunity for our staff to spot potential cyber experts while encouraging computer science at school and future careers paths into apprenticeships and specific courses.

Yasmin El Mozer, aged 17, took part in the CyberFirst programme. She said that she’d had the chance to talk to cyber tutors and learn more about future career paths in the industry. The hands-on opportunity offered by the programme helped her understand the need for cyber security and how systems can be hacked.

Rob Higgins, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s Security Information and Services Director, added:

The CyberFirst initiative is a pivotal part of the government’s National Cyber Security Programme. Cyber security and resilience is vital to the NDA and its estate, so encouraging young people into cyber-related careers will go a long way in helping to keep us safe in the future from the growing cyber threat.

Thousands To Benefit From New Congleton Bypass

Department for Transport to provide £45 million for a project to build a new 3.5-kilometre bypass in Congleton

Department for Transport

Department for Transport

Thousands of drivers every day will benefit from faster journeys thanks to a new bypass for Congleton.

The Department for Transport has today (20 August 2018) approved the brand new route, and will provide £45 million towards the £75 million project, which will save drivers on average 7 minutes per journey.

It will mean a 3.5-kilometre road connecting the A534 west of Congleton with the A536 to the north of the town, benefitting around 17,000 motorists alone.

The link road will also directly support more than 1,000 new homes, and will open up 9.3 hectares of business land by 2035 — as well as indirectly supporting an extra 1,475 homes and 10 hectares of employment land to the north of Congleton.

Transport Minister Liz Sugg said:

We are investing record amounts in improving our roads up and down the country to get drivers to shops, friends or work quicker than before.

This new bypass will not only lead to fewer accidents and cut congestion in Congleton, it will take lorries out of the town centre and improve air quality for its residents.

The link road will also help create new homes and jobs around Congleton, boosting the local economy.

Cyclists will also get a better link around Congleton as a cycleway and path will be built alongside the road.

The Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Rachel Bailey, said:

Confirmation of this funding for a much-needed road scheme in Congleton is excellent news for this council and, I am sure, for the people of the town.

This will significantly improve the quality of life for local people. It will remove congestion from the town centre, unlock key employment and housing sites, boosting the local economy, as well as creating vastly improved connectivity from the Macclesfield area of the borough through to the M6 corridor to Sandbach and Crewe.

This is fantastic news.

The works will start in October and end in 2020. Cheshire East is providing £9.63 million and £20.8 million will come from private developers.

The investment comes as part of a £55 million government boost for local road schemes, with money also being spent on improvements around Newhaven Port in Sussex.

Need For Speed Drives £9 Billion Superfast Broadband Boost

New research shows a £9 billion increase for local businesses, delivering a welcome boost to the UK economy and creating new jobs

Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Local businesses in areas covered by the Government’s rollout of superfast broadband have seen a combined £9 billion increase in turnover since the boost to their broadband speed, new figures have revealed.

“The Evaluation of the Economic Impact and Public Value of the Superfast Broadband Programme” is an independent assessment of the impact the rollout has had in its first years (2012-2016). Key findings from the report include:

  • £9 billion surge in turnover for businesses benefitting from the faster connections now available
  • £690 million net increase in Gross Value Added to the UK economy
  • A reduction of almost 9000 individuals claiming jobseekers allowance, as well as a reduction in long term claimants by 2,500 in programme areas, accompanied by the creation of 49,000 local jobs
  • Programme has delivered £12.28 benefit for businesses for every £1 invested by the Government and local authorities
  • Strong indication that high take up rates of Government’s superfast programme have encouraged telecommunications industry to expand their own commercial broadband projects.

Minister for Digital, Margot James said:

Our rollout of superfast broadband across the UK has been the most challenging infrastructure project in a generation but is one of our greatest successes. We are reaching thousands more homes and businesses every week, that can now reap the clear and tangible benefits that superfast broadband provides. We are helping to ensure the downfall of the digital divide.

New figures out today also show that around 5 million homes and businesses who would have been stuck in the digital slow lane now have access to superfast broadband. The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband to those areas deemed “commercially un-viable” has helped take nationwide coverage to 95.39%.

Take-up of the new technology in areas benefiting from the Government programme is now running at 45% – more than double the expected rate. As a result of the contracts put in place by Government, those companies rolling out superfast broadband will now return more than £500 million in subsidies to the public purse to be used to reach those locations not yet covered by existing plans.

It is estimated that more than 1 million extra UK homes and businesses will gain access to superfast speeds, taking superfast coverage to 98% of the nation over the next few years.

Government is introducing a Universal Service Obligation that will mean everyone in the UK has access to fast and affordable broadband by 2020, and has recently set out plans to deliver nationwide gigabit capable (1000Mbps) connectivity by 2033 as part of its modern industrial strategy.

Openreach CEO Clive Selley, said:

It is great to see businesses across the UK reaping the benefits of faster broadband speeds and I’m proud of the leading role that Openreach has played in helping to deliver the Government’s rollout of superfast broadband – one of Britain’s great engineering achievements. We’ve also recently introduced a raft of lower wholesale prices to help drive higher take-up of faster fibre services which will help to further fuel the boost to the UK economy.

The Government’s rollout of superfast technology is an important part of the ongoing digital transformation work designed to make it quicker and easier for citizens to interact with Government online.

Support For Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurs Helps 11,000 Businesses Get Off The Ground

More than 1 in 5 government loans have gone to black, Asian and ethnic minority entrepreneurs

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

  • Around 11,000 start-up companies have benefited from loans of up to £25,000 since 2012 according to figures published today
  • government is tackling inequality by helping ensure all entrepreneurs can access the finance they need regardless of their background

More than 11,000 black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) entrepreneurs have received government-backed Start Up Loans since 2012 according to research published today.

Start Up Loans were introduced to tackle inequality in society by ensuring that people from all backgrounds can access the money they need to start a business.

Since the scheme began in 2012, more than 55,000 businesses have been supported – equivalent to around 25 every day. More than £400 million of finance has been provided and helped create more than 66,000 jobs. 1 in 5 of the loans have gone to BAME recipients.

The findings underpin the value which BAME citizens add to the UK’s economy. They also highlight how the government is working to create a strong entrepreneurial business environment and a fairer society.

Business Minister Richard Harrington said:

Through our efforts to create a fairer society, we are ensuring that entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can access the finance they need to make their businesses grow and succeed.

The government is continuing to look at new ways to tackle racial inequality in our society and make sure that everyone has the same opportunities to progress.

The Prime Minister has previously made clear as part of the Race Disparity Audit launched in 2016 that if an ethnic disparity cannot be explained then there must be a change and we, as a society, must take action to tackle injustices.

In 2017, nearly 8% of the ethnic minority population were involved in starting or running a new business – compared to 14.5% of the white population.

According to data published last year, 15% of workers in the UK were self-employed in 2018. While Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers were most likely to be self-employed, black workers were least likely to be.

While there are less black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the UK, the new data shows that from 2013 to 2017, ethnic minority entrepreneurs received start-up loans at a higher rate. Last year, 5.7 black entrepreneurs per 10,000 people received a start-up loan, compared with 2.4 white entrepreneurs per 10,000 people.

This data shows that the government is taking action to support BAME entrepreneurs as it works to build a society that works for everyone, regardless of their background.

Research reveals 5% of the UK’s small businesses were majority-led by someone from an ethnic minority group with 90% being led by someone from a white group. 13% of the UK population belong to a black, Asian, mixed or other ethnic group, according to government data.

The World Bank ranks the UK one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business with 1,100 businesses starting every day in Britain – or 1 every 75 seconds. Small and medium size businesses support more than 13 million jobs across the UK.

Ministry Of Justice Takes Over Running Of HMP Birmingham

The Ministry of Justice has today taken over the running of HMP Birmingham for an initial six-month period

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Justice

  • “Step-in” process will stabilise prison, inject fresh leadership and bolster existing staff
  • There will be no additional cost to the taxpayer and conditions at the prison are expected to quickly improve
  • Forceful action follows intensive period of Ministry of Justice measures to compel improvements

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has today (20 August) taken over the running of HMP Birmingham for an initial six-month period at no additional cost to the taxpayer.

This follows an extended period during which HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) has worked with the operator, G4S, in an attempt to drive up standards at the prison amid serious concerns over safety, security and decency.

It is clear, however, that without additional support the prison will not be able to make sufficient progress on these pressing issues which have again been highlighted following the recent HMIP inspection. G4S accept that this is the case.

From today, the running of the establishment will be taken over by HMPPS in accordance with the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and as part of the contract with G4S. However, HMPPS will work closely with G4S to ensure minimal disruption and to reassure staff of our mutual commitment to stabilising the prison and putting it on a sustainable footing.

The immediate steps that will be taken include:

  • putting in place one of the prison service’s best governors to lead the prison, as well as a strong senior management team
  • allocating experienced HMPPS officers to bolster existing staffing at the prison; an initial 30 extra officers will be deployed
  • reducing the prison’s capacity by 300 places while improvement action is underway

While HMPPS will run Birmingham for an initial six-month period, this may be extended and the prison will not be handed back until ministers are satisfied that sufficient progress has been made.

Justice Secretary David Gauke and the Prisons Minister have recently visited the prison and concluded that ‘stepping in’ is the best way to make immediate impact and begin the necessary improvements.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart said:

What we have seen at Birmingham is unacceptable and it has become clear that drastic action is required to bring about the improvements we require.

This ‘step in’ means that we can provide additional resources to the prison while insulating the taxpayer from the inevitable cost this entails.

We have good, privately-run prisons across the country and while Birmingham faces its own particular set of challenges, I am absolutely clear that it must start to live up to the standards seen elsewhere.

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