Once again, the Sage EmpowerCyber event returned to St James Park, Newcastle for November 2023. However, due to last year’s fully-booked event, this time around the plans were more ambitious and held over two days (21/22 November) to give more year-8 girls the opportunity to engage with cyber security via 20 minute workshops. Schools were bussed in from all around the Northeast region.

A similar event was held in Cheltenham earlier in the month, supported by our collegues in the CyNam cluster.

Sage pulled together an impressive array of both national and local participating companies, who each agreed to hold a workshop related to cyber security. This included CyberNorth. Over the two days, there were 30 workshop stations that engaged groups of 15 girls at a time, before the girls moved on to the next workshop.

Before the grand opening, I took the opportunity to walk around the other company workshop areas and chatted to new and existing contacts, including Arctic Wolf, BJSS, Accenture, Waterstons, CACI, Northumbrian Water, BT, Adarma and Sage. Also being part of the local project team, but concentrating on CyberNorth’s involvement, I was particularly impressed with the Northeast region’s NCSC CyberFirst area, with one of the NCSC’s leadership team coming up from GCHQ to be a part of their activities.

CyberNorth’s station concentrated on the theme of recruitment and the girls’ task was to design an attention-grabbing cyber security recruitment poster. Across the two days, I was ably supported by Joanne Middleton, Thea Scott and Danielle Phillips. After initial complexities around the format of the workshop (first time tested) were simplified, we had a really good level of engagement from the schools that came over.

Hopefully, the recruitment poster exercise showed how there were a great many in-demand and high-paying cyber security roles and experience levels on offer as potential future career options.

Examples of some of the resulting poster design can be found via the following link to a slideshow video:


In all, over 1100 girls attended, and the event was well-supported by regional and national companies, each hosting a cyber security-themed workshop. Empower event even made it as a news item on local ITV television!

Congratulations to Sage and especially Mads Howard, for organising and pulling off yet another great empowerment occasion for the young.

See you next year!

Andrew Pounder – CyberNorth Skills Lead