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CyberFirst Girls Competition 2023

Deloitte recently hosted the 2023 CyberFirst Girls Competition at our campus in London. This annual event, organised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) through their CyberFirst initiative, aims to encourage girls to consider a career in cyber security through fun and challenging cyber activities and team exercises.

Women represent just 22% of the cyber industry in the UK. The Girls Competition is an important initiative in addressing this imbalance by inspiring girls and raising awareness that cyber is a rewarding and accessible career.
Over 8,700 girls entered the competition this year bringing the total number of participants since the competition began in 2017 to more than 65,000. The event was one of 13 regional finals which all took place simultaneously across the UK. The finalists, aged 12-13, worked in small teams to crack challenging cyber-related puzzles to score points for their school.

The day kicked off with opening remarks from representatives from Deloitte and the NCSC, including a presentation on ethics in AI from Kerryn Gammie, a senior consultant at Deloitte, and a welcome speech from Lindy Cameron, the CEO of the NCSC.

The girls took on tasks covering topics like cryptography, coding, logic puzzles networking and much more. These topics went beyond the national syllabus of Computer Science and included advanced cyber concepts to encourage participants to think laterally and push them to expand their cyber knowledge.
This year’s winners were the team from the Tiffin Girls’ School in Southwest London. Having won the competition in 2022, they returned this year and overcame strong competition to be crowned the 2023 CyberFirst Girls Competition regional winners for London for the second year in a row. Other highlights included a participant from The Harris Academy in Southeast London completing an advanced challenge that no other participant completed this year, as well as a very brave participant from Uxbridge School in South London who competed alone.

The competition was brought to a close with a keynote speech from Bia Bedri, Partner at Deloitte. Bia shared insights into her journey as a female in the industry and her advice for the next generation of women in cyber. Certificates were presented to each school and the winners received a trophy and special prizes, including new laptops to encourage them to continue to pursue their interest in cyber and technology.

Bia had this to say about the event:

“All of the participants in the competition should be very proud of themselves. They have all shown a level of commitment, initiative and courage that is truly inspiring. I am humbled by the hard-work that the girls have put in, not just today but in getting to the final. They have done themselves, their parents and their schools very proud indeed – they are the future of this industry and I am confident that each and every one of them will go on to achieve great things. There is a significant gender imbalance that exists in cyber and I am hopeful that through events like this, girls will be inspired to pursue a career in this exciting and dynamic industry.”

A formal awards ceremony will be held in March to recognise all the regional winners.

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