2021 - Cyber school initiative

University joins city council to address cyber skills shortage

Thu, 18 Feb 2021 13:51:00 GMT
GCU will provide more than 100 secondary-school pupils and their teachers access to its technical infrastructure.
GCU will provide more than 100 secondary-school pupils and their teachers access to its technical infrastructure.

The next generation of cyber security experts are to be given a vital boost thanks to Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

In partnership with Glasgow City Council, GCU will provide more than 100 secondary-school pupils and their teachers access to its technical infrastructure.

The widening access partnership will allow teachers at four city secondary schools, in this first phase of the project, to develop learning materials and will provide students the platform on which to conduct their digital forensic experiments as they work towards their National Progression Award in Cyber Security.

In addition, GCU will run an online Cyber Futures session for the 100 pupils as part of Cyber Scotland Week (February 22-28). This will feature insights from current GCU students; the University’s Ethical Hacking Society discussing its activities and the benefits of cyber competitions and challenges; and Proact IT UK, one of GCU’s industry partners, showcasing career prospects in cyber security.

The participating schools in the first phase are Hyndland Secondary, Bellahouston Academy, St Margaret Marys and Abercorn.

Dr Jackie Riley, Head of Department for Cyber Security and Networks in the School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment, said: “The infrastructure required to enable students to effectively experience the hands-on activity within cyber security is a big challenge for schools and education authorities to provide.

“It clearly has to be secure to ensure there is no damage possible to corporate infrastructures from the students’ ethical hacking activities. We are delighted that the expansion of our facilities at GCU, due to the shift in teaching brought on by the pandemic, has enabled us to run this pilot and support the teachers who are struggling to provide the practical sessions the pupils require.

“Having the opportunity to inspire the next generation of cyber security students, and to support the teachers, perfectly aligns with the GCU Common Good mission.”

Councillor Chris Cunningham, City Convener of Education, Skills and Early Years, said: “This is partnership work in action and I’m delighted that solutions were found to enable our young people to engage and complete their studies.

“Not only do our young people get the opportunities to access important IT skills, it’s also a chance for our pupils to get a taste of what higher education can offer them for their future pathways.”