The free programme that empowered over 100,000 young people to try cyber security

Cyber Discovery was a four-year national schools programme in the UK funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Between 2017 - 2021 Cyber Discovery helped discover and develop the UK's most talented cyber defenders


young people in the UK took part in the Cyber Discovery programme.


schools in the UK took part in the Cyber Discovery programme.


of participants* said that Cyber Discovery helped them secure a job in cyber security.


female participation. That is 13% higher than the total % of girls taking Computer Science at GCSE at the time.

*who took part in our careers survey

Learn more about the programme that introduced 13 to 18 year-olds to cyber security

Cyber Discovery was created as a free, extracurricular programme to inspire secondary school students to try cyber security while providing a stepping stone to this essential industry through real-world training.

From landing their first jobs to joining a community of friends, hear how Cyber Discovery impacted students' lives

"It's an amazing platform that made me very interested in the field of cyber security, as well as opening career prospects that I would have never known about otherwise or felt confident enough to pursue. I knew little to nothing about cyber security before Cyber Discovery, and in some ways, it has changed my life."
"My experience in the program has been amazing. I went into Cyber Discovery knowing absolutely nothing in cyber, and came out the other side a 3-time Elite Student, 1 GIAC Certification, 86.67% in SANS Foundations and knew loads more than I thought I could learn from an online program. Thank you.
Read about more Cyber Discovery students' experiences in this blog.

Cyber Discovery brought together a community of like-minded young people

Cyber Discovery didn't just empower students with cyber security skills; it also allowed them to share a common interest and make friends from different backgrounds. During the programme students built their own Cyber Discovery Discord where they collaborated on challenges, shared tips or advice, and made life-long friends.

Discuss a programme with us
Jude Kelzi
"The community was very encouraging and everyone was nice. I felt very welcome and made lots of friends. It was somewhere I could express my passion for computing and not be judged for it."

Read through the external evaluation of Cyber Discovery

  • Cyber Discovery engaged a greater proportion of ethnic minority participants than sit computer science school exams.
  • Students generally had a very positive view of cyber careers, with most (80%) agreeing that they were suitable for someone like them.
  • Industry experts generally felt it was possible that the programme could contribute towards longer-term impact and closing the cyber security skills gap.
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Students formed comprehensive cyber security skillsets through free training with industry-respected resources

Cyber Discovery students were introduced to the fascinating world of cyber security through several learning stages. Those who progressed through the programme encountered hundreds of hours worth of thrilling cyber security challenges, hands-on labs and self-paced learning materials through the CyberStart and SANS Foundations platforms.

CyberStart dashboard with two characters waving.


In this stage of the programme, known as CyberStart Game, Cyber Discovery students gained access to CyberStart - the most proven gamified cyber security training platform for young adults. Through hundreds of progressive cyber security challenges and engaging resources, students jumped into the exciting world of a cyber agent, learning to investigate crimes and catch criminals using many real cyber security techniques.

Learn more
An Elite event with students sitting around tables playing CTF's.

Advanced Training & Events

The final phase, known as CyberStart Elite, gave students the opportunity to undertake more advanced cyber security training, both remotely and at face-to-face camps. During live events, students made friends with like-minded people, gained invaluable training from industry experts and showcased their skills while competing in an exciting capture the flag competition.

A collection of items used to help students advancee their security and computer skills.

SANS Foundations

In this stage of the programme, known as CyberStart Essentials, Cyber Discovery students who showed an aptitude for the challenges in CyberStart were invited to participate in SANS Foundations. Students advanced their security and computer skills through hands-on labs, engaging video tutorials created by experts, and a final GIAC exam to prepare them for employment.

Learn more

World-class cyber security training provided through premium programme delivery


With an expertise of the channels and campaigns that convert a Gen Z audience, the CyberStart team inspired 100,000+ students to give cyber security a try, significantly surpassing our original goal of just 4000 students! From hobbyist students through to complete newcomers, the CyberStart team created a bespoke evidence-based promotional plan to ensure the programme reached a wide audience. Users were targeted both directly and via their schools, magnifying the search for talent in this programme.


A bespoke GDPR compliant registration system was developed for Cyber Discovery to safely collect and securely store user data for programme management and communication with users, efficient data analysis, and custom reporting to meet government requirements which was capable of scaling to millions of users.


From week-to-week progress reports to in-depth data analysis after each annual intake, the data collected at registration allowed for comprehensive insight into the students taking part in the programme. An expert team of data analysts provided recommendations on programme structure, recruitment methods, and identified trends in talented students to help improve the programme year on year.


Cyber Discovery offered students the opportunity to validate and earn recognition for the skills they learnt during the programme. A process formed to engage and celebrate students through personalised certificate distribution, digital badges to recognise achievement milestones and partnerships with PR agencies to amplify participants' success.

User Support

World-class in-product tech support is provided for each product student's access, plus overall programme support. Infrastructure is set up to provide an enhanced level of support that can cater to huge volumes of enquiries and questions. CyberStart's friendly and knowledgeable support team goes above and beyond to ensure that any questions, issues or troubleshooting requirements are resolved quickly and efficiently.

If you're interested to find out how we can help run your project, get in touch

Discuss a programme with us

Students loved being part of Cyber Discovery

"I have always been fascinated by both technology and problem solving; the programme combined these two interests in a way that had me instantly hooked."
"Excellent resources, a really well thought out, varied, stimulating, challenging, fun activity for the students."
Anonymous, student.
"I have never really come across anything that goes from the complete basics to the advanced levels like Cyber Discovery does, and the impact it has had on my life is massive."
"Cyber Discovery is the best cyber security learning platform I’ve seen. Great materials, beautiful presentation, level of challenges just right!"
Are you a student looking to try something like Cyber Discovery? Play some free challenges and learn more here.