Computer science pupils in cybersecurity challenge

Shirley-Anne Somerville with BT cybersecurity apprentices and computer science pupils

Scotland’s Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, met computing science pupils from St Kentigern’s Academy, Blackburn, and Armadale Academy at BT’s Edinburgh headquarters this week for a special Scottish Apprenticeship Week event.

Pupils from the two West Lothian schools were invited to meet the minister and BT employees to hear about the variety of apprenticeships available with the communications company in Scotland as well as trying their hand at cybersecurity challenges. Students heard from BT’s cyber security apprentice, Leah Robertson, who shared her experiences since embarking on her MA. The event was hosted by BT and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and intended to highlight the exciting apprenticeship opportunities available within Scotland’s growing cyber security sector.

Following the presentations, the S3 pupils were challenged to take part in a number of hands-on cyber security activities using skills such as encryption and digital forensics. Pupils had the chance to discuss their interest in computing science and their reasons for considering a career in tech with the minister and BT’s apprentices were also able to share their experiences on the scheme. “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting 30,000 new MA opportunities annually,” said Somerville. “Apprenticeships promote economic development, reduce unemployment and match skills to the current and future needs of the labour market.”

Celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week

BT, which last week announced plans to create 145 new apprenticeship and graduate jobs in Scotland, focused on cyber security to showcase the more unusual apprenticeship opportunities on offer at the company. Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Apprentices are at the heart of BT’s business, bringing fresh ideas and talent into our teams. BT employs one in seven employees working in Scotland’s IT and communications industries and cyber security is a growing part of our business, with around 2,500 employed around the world. We support public sector and businesses of all sizes with the evolving threats posed to data and networks.”

BT cyber security apprentice Leah Robertson said: “Since I joined BT in 2015 I’ve learnt so much and continue to develop in my career. I started an accountancy course at university but it just was not for me, I much prefer to learn in the workplace combined with regular trips to university. I’d recommend an apprenticeship to anyone, the support and opportunities I’ve had in BT have been fantastic.”