Building Scotland’s cyber skills of the future

Glasgow Clyde College is raising awareness of its first HND Cyber Security course.

Beginning in August, students will have the opportunity to develop their skillset in a broad range of technical support and software qualifications. The course, which has been designed by the SQA to help plug the digital skills gap, has been introduced into the College’s curriculum and is the latest in a series of efforts to future-proof the workforce.

With articulation links into third year at Glasgow Caledonian University, the course provides a clear progression path for students looking to continue into higher education.  Those who complete the course will typically be qualified as penetration testers (pen testers): experts who are hired by businesses to detect weak spots in their security systems by using their learned skills to hack into them. Pen testers then produce valuable reports for companies and provide solutions and recommendations on how to better equip their online security.

Adam Godwin, Senior Lecturer at Glasgow Clyde College, said: “One of the key skills required as a pen tester is to produce reports in layman’s terms. Just because you know there is an issue with your online security, doesn’t mean you understand the technical aspects. They want to know the risk to their business, but need to understand how they can fix it.  Our students are taught in a way that allows them to develop hard technical skills alongside softer skills such as communication and writing ability.” 

The College is the first in Glasgow and one of only two college’s in Scotland to receive its Cyber Essential Plus accreditation and has been developing its resources and knowledge in cyber security with its ongoing involvement at WorldSkills. The College’s computing staff are responsible for introducing the first cyber security competition at the national skills event and will continue as the lead partner for this year’s event and launch a national cyber security competition open to students from across the UK. 

Adam continues: “We have worked with WorldSkills for a number of years now, with students competing in the computing contests. Introducing the cyber skills competition was a huge undertaking for us, and one that we are looking forward to progressing and growing this year. We expect to see students from across the UK taking part and will of course have our own students competing.”  

Former Glasgow Clyde College computer science student Adrian Cybulski has been chosen to represent the UK in cyber security at the WorldSkills world final in Russia in August. Following his first-place win at the national event in Birmingham last November, Adrian will travel to Russia with the rest of the UK squad after months of intensive training. Adrian will compete for four days in hacking, pen testing, social engineering and problem solving that will test his skillset to the max.  

Applications for all Glasgow Clyde College’s computing courses are now open, with a small number of places still available for the Cyber Security course.