Holy Wannacry, Batman! Scotland’s school pupils are being encouraged to consider fighting cybercriminals as a career choice, thanks to a new initiative launched today by Skills Development Scotland.
Aimed at S1 to S3 pupils, the Cyber Skills Programme will help to raise skill levels and awareness of the growing importance (and number of well paid jobs) in the world of cybersecurity. The programme will host a series events online and around Scotland, to introduce young people to the concepts and skills required to create the crime fighting ‘superheroes’ of the future.
Learn How to Rob a Bank…
Kids will learn how to protect – and hack – passwords, how to rob a bank (an electronic piggy bank) through a series of special live and recorded online tutorials. A series of Meet the Experts video conferencing sessions on the GLOW network will give pupils the chance to talk to and question people working in cybersecurity, including employees, employers, students and lecturers.
A key focus for the programme is to engage with employers, to increase industry’s awareness of new career routes that these future cybersecurity gatekeepers can take. Police Scotland, Abertay University, Glasgow Clyde College and FanDuel are amongst the organisations already committed to supporting the scheme.
Toni Scullion, computing science teacher at St Kentigern’s Academy – and a nominee in the recent Scottish Women in Technology awards, told DIGIT: “I’m really excited to deliver this course with my classes. This is a fantastic and welcomed initiative that provides great opportunity to introduce pupils to the world of cyber security. This will help spark interest in pupils at an early stage and pave the way for Scottish pupils to be a part of the Cyber Security pipeline in the future.”
Toolkits designed to help all teachers deliver the lessons on topics around cybersecurity will be available.
Avengers, Assembly language!
The four-year Cyber Skills Programme is funded by the UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy Programme and supported by the Scottish Government. It has been designed in partnership with industry to raise awareness of the country’s rapidly evolving cybersecurity sector and the career opportunities available to those who choose to protect businesses, services and critical infrastructure from online threats.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Strategy Programme has allocated £6.5 million over four years – until 2021 – for projects based in Scotland to support the strategic outcomes and success measures outlined in the National Cyber Security Strategy and the priority actions listed in the Cyber Resilience Strategy for Scotland.
The programme makes use of many of the new apprenticeship schemes set up by SDS, which create routes into the digital sector. A newly developed Graduate Level Apprenticeship in Cybersecurity has recently been introduced. In addition a Modern Apprenticeship in Information Security and a Foundation Apprenticeship in Hardware and System Support offer other entry points for those interested in cybersecurity and the digital sector.
I am Iron Man!
Gordon McGuiness, director of industry & enterprise networks at Skills Development Scotland, said: “The cyber industry is of critical importance to our online society and will play an increasing role in the years to come. There will be a wide variety of exciting jobs available to today’s youngsters and we need to ensure they have the skills to make the most of these opportunities.
“There are a number of ways into this dynamic and fast moving sector. A lot of work has taken place to ensure there will be a variety of routes into careers in the cyber industry, as well as digital and tech, including new Foundation Apprenticeships which provide real-world industry experience for kids while they are still at school.”
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, said: “We are very pleased to support Skills Development Scotland increase cyber awareness and skills amongst young people. We hope the programme will trigger interest in the career opportunities the digital world presents.”