Strategic command launches bursary programme for UK students

In an increasingly competitive and high-tech world, science, engineering and digital skills are essential to tackling complex threats, while capitalising on the opportunities emerging technologies bring.

To ensure we have the workforce we need for the future, Strategic Command has launched a bursaries programme for 16 to 18-year-olds to incentivise the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and digital courses, and to promote careers in Defence.

The ambitious bursary programme will provide successful applicants with financial support, a high-performance laptop, and a broad range of mentoring and development opportunities.

This STEM and digital bursary will initially be piloted with 100 students in four educational institutions in Lancashire, coordinated through the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub.

This location has been chosen as part of the work to develop a talent pipeline in support of the National Cyber Force (NCF) as it prepares to move its headquarters to Samlesbury, Lancashire.

The NCF, a defence and intelligence partnership, carries out cyber operations on a daily basis to protect against threats to the UK, further the UK’s foreign policy, support military operations, and prevent serious crime.

Feedback from student focus groups in Lancashire has been excellent, and a significant number of applications are expected.

The bursary programme will launch this academic year, 2023/24, and following this Strategic Command plans to scale the programme significantly across the UK.

Launching the programme at DSEI 2023, General Jim Hockenhull said :

Digital and technical skills are at the core of everything we do. Attracting the right talent into Defence is critical for our operational capability.

There are incredible people across the UK who can make an extraordinary contribution to UK national security. This exciting digital bursary programme is a crucial step in identifying and fostering this talent, and I look forward to working with partners across the country to reach as many people as possible.

Leader of the Lancashire County Council, Phillippa Williamson, said:

I’m really pleased that Lancashire has been chosen to pilot this exciting programme.

We know there are many talented young people in the county and these bursaries will give 100 of them a huge helping hand to develop a career in defence.

This comes at a really exciting time for us, as we prepare to welcome the National Cyber Force to Samlesbury and the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub works to help develop more opportunities for people to develop their digital and technical skills.

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