Diverse group of participants get cyber security taster

Link-up between Scottish Government, Edinburgh Napier and charities increases awareness of career opportunities

Date posted

24 July 2019


A diverse group of participants have received an insight into the cyber security industry thanks to a new link-up between the Scottish Government, Edinburgh Napier and two leading charities. 

Funded and supported by the Scottish Government, Edinburgh Napier recently developed and led an eight day cyber security taster course for 12 delegates selected by two local third sector organisations. 

Participants were recruited by Into Work – an organisation that helps people with disabilities and long-term health conditions find, build and maintain great jobs – and Autism Initiatives – a charity that works positively alongside people with autism, their families and carers to provide specialist services from work placements to training, clubs and activities. Participant take part in a Cyber Taster session at Merchison campus

The eight day course held at Edinburgh Napier’s Merchiston campus saw a range of topics covered including cryptography, Splunk software and network security. Participants also got the chance to ‘meet the industry experts’ to learn more about the industry and the career opportunities within cyber security. 

One-to-one career development sessions were also made available for all participants, with a range of clear objectives and next steps established for those wishing to pursue further learning within the area. 

For staff at Edinburgh Napier, the programme has increased awareness of neurodiversity and the need to develop suitable course material for those with complex needs and requirements. 

Professor Sally Smith, Dean of the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier, said: “The cyber security industry is expanding and its future success relies on access to technical experts. This course offered insights into cyber security careers, while recognising the strengths of a neurodiverse workforce.” 

The unique programme also received a boost when it was discussed at the recent 5th International Big Data in Cyber Security conference in Edinburgh which was attended by Kate Forbes, MSP and Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy for the Scottish Government. 

Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes said: “Scotland, like the rest of the world, needs more people training and applying for jobs in cyber security, and we need to make sure we are supporting talent from across society. I’m delighted that this pilot course has been such a success. 

“Edinburgh Napier University, IntoWork and Autism Initiatives have collaborated effectively to meet the needs of people from different backgrounds, while inspiring them to consider studying for a career in cyber security in the future. I hope other universities will consider replicating this project and that more people can be supported to succeed in the study of cyber security.”

Plans are already underway to expand the taster course to run in three locations across Scotland. 

Lynda Mcleod, Service Delivery Manager at Into Work, said: “Into Work was delighted to be involved in this cyber security taster with Edinburgh Napier University and Autism Initiatives, giving autistic students the chance to learn more about the industry. Participant feedback has been very invaluable and will allow us to shape future courses even better for people.”

Participant Suzanne Dyson said: “This was an excellent course with engaging and very helpful tutors – it covered a lot of ground in a short period of time. 

“It was a good quiet space for people on the spectrum. Being able to attend the Big Data conference afterwards was an eye-opening benefit.”