Summer courses to help train up the next generation of cybersecurity experts are now open for registration, the UK’s national government agency for online resilience has announced.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), first launched its range of courses in 2016 to give Scottish students aged 14-17 the opportunity to explore their passion for technology and computing through the world of cybersecurity.

The three courses that guide pupils step by step through their understanding of the cybersecurity industry are: CyberFirst Defenders, CyberFirst Futures and finally CyberFirst Advanced.

The courses link to the national progression awards (NPAs) (defenders – level 4, futures – level 5, advanced – level 6) and are Scottish credit qualifications framework (SCQF) rated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

All courses are free and the majority are provided in 10, half-day online sessions. 

CyberFirst Defenders is open to students currently in S4. The course provides an introduction to building and protecting small networks and personal devices. It equips students with a set of relevant practical skills that can be applied in their daily lives. 

CyberFirst Futures is for students in S5 and it introduces them to the more advanced practical features of cyber security by developing their understanding of cyber-incidents, while exploring the reasoning and motivation of common attacks.

And finally, the CyberFirst Advanced for students in S6 focuses on developing the skills and behaviours required for entry into the cyber or computing workplace.

Each course has been designed to offer students the support, skills, experience and exposure needed to be the future first line of defence in a ‘cyber first’ world.

Chris Ensor, NCSC deputy director for cyber growth, said: “CyberFirst courses offer pupils a fantastic opportunity to pursue their passion for technology, whilst learning how to keep themselves and others safe online. 

“I’m delighted we are offering more teenagers the chance to develop new skills, which I hope will inspire them to consider a future in the exciting field of cyber security.”

A former CyberFirst student Anwen Baker, who lives in the Inner Hebrides said: “The fact that this course was held online made it accessible to me, living in a remote rural location. I would say to anyone thinking about doing a CyberFirst course to just go for it – I knew very little about computer systems or the technical side of things, but we were taught all these amazing new things. It was interesting, enjoyable and fun!”

To attend one of these virtual courses students will require access to a computer and an internet connection. Students will be sent information in advance to help confirm they have all that is required for the course.

To find out more and to book a place please visit The Smallpeice Trust website for further information.