GCU puts cyber security first

29 July 2016

The event culminated in a prize giving.

The event culminated in a prize giving.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) continued its drive to address a skills shortage in the cyber security sector this week by hosting a programme aimed directly at school leavers.

The four-day CyberFirst Futures programme invited 16 and 17-year-olds onto GCU’s Glasgow campus to teach them techniques in cyber security, including how to protect their home computer from attack.

The pilot scheme, the first of its kind in Scotland, was fully funded by GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence agency, and is part of a series of initiatives aimed at encouraging young people to get into cyber security careers.

GCU provided facilities for the programme, with participating students split into teams and given a practical assignment based on what they had learned during the course. They then had to present their progress and findings, with a panel of judges deciding on a winner.

Cameron Thompson (17), from Northern Ireland, said: “I’m a computing student at A-Level and computing is a direction I’m definitely going in. This course has been brilliant for igniting interest in the security industry among everybody here. I’ve learned a lot from it. It’s an industry I want to go into, either as a tester, an ethical hacker or a consultant. The certificate gained on this programme could give me the edge when applying for university.”

Dr Jackie Riley, Assistant Head of Department within GCU’s School of Engineering and Built Environment, said: “Organised crime gangs are investing time, effort and resources into capitalising from cyber crime. If we do not start to feed the pipe line of talent, we will forever be vulnerable to cyber attacks. This was an excellent opportunity for school pupils to become aware of cyber issues and see the potential for a career in cyber security.”

As an academic school with recognised expertise in Computer Networking, Cyber Security and Digital Forensics, GCU’s School of Engineering and Built Environment has traditionally supported the public and private sector in Scotland through the provision of research and information and regularly delivers CPD training to a broad range of stakeholders and organisations.

In February this year, the University launched Introduction to Cyber Security, a 10-week course for business employees that aims to explore current thinking in relation to maintaining a secure presence on the internet, ensuring businesses are better prepared to handle online security issues.

One of GCU’s strategic objectives is to innovate for social and economic impact, working with partners to deliver high-quality, flexible and accessible education for employees in leading local and global companies.