YEAR 7 girls were encouraged to pursue cybersecurity careers during the first Cybersec Jam event, hosted by TECgirls at Truro & Penwith College on Wednesday.

The event aimed to ignite a passion for technology, engineering and creativity in girls aged 12 and 13. Subjects included coding and logic, led by TECgirls using Turing Tumble marble powered computers; cryptography, led by GCHQ Bude; networks, led by National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ; and cybersecurity, led by Cognition Learning.

In the afternoon, the girls heard motivational talks from female leaders in the cybersecurity sector, including Caitlin Gould, founder and director of TECwomen CIC and Romy Hughes, director of IT consultancy Brightman.

Participating Cornish schools were Helston College, Truro High School, Brannel and Penrice academies in St Austell, Truro School and Penryn College, Holsworthy Community College and Shebbear College joined from Devon.

All now plan to enter the CyberFirst Girls competition, a national programme organised by NCSC available to Year 8 girls in November.

TECwomen CIC operations director Suzanne Manson said: “The take-up of computing-related subjects is still very low among girls, with only five per cent opting to take them at GCSE. Our objective was to show how much fun technology, engineering and cybersecurity careers can be. 

“The day was a huge success; the girls were really engaged, curious and stepped out of their comfort zone to learn new skills. It was so rewarding to see the smiles on their faces.”

The event was supported by Truro & Penwith College, GCHQ Bude, CyberFirst and CyNam, with energiser sessions from PWC.