School pupils across the Highlands are being given the opportunity to channel their inner Alan Turing as they step into the shoes of a forensic computer analyst to encrypt and decrypt top-secret messages at a special cyber skills event.

Up to 60 children across the region will attend the event, which is part of the Cyber Skills Programme launched by Skills Development Scotland in late 2017 to encourage school pupils across the nation to become the cyber security gatekeepers of the future.

The will take place at the Digital Studio and Careers Lab in the Skills Development Scotland Careers Centre (Church St, Inverness) and will aim to shine a light on cyber security and raise awareness of the abundance of dynamic career opportunities available in the sector.

The day will be split into two separate workshops, the first being a ‘My World of Work Live!’ workshop, which will run an interactive ‘Cracking Cryptography’ session where pupils will be challenged to decipher top-secret messages like the world-famous Enigma machine.

The second workshop will be hosted by Police Scotland, who will use their session to provide guidance and advice on how to stay safe online, as well as showcasing the many exciting cyber crime-fighting career opportunities available within Police Scotland.

Claire Gillespie, key sector manager for digital skills at Skills Development Scotland, said: “Cyber security has a significant place in today’s digital world and this will continue to be the case for many years to come. As a result, it’s absolutely critical that we educate and encourage our younger generations to consider a career in this exciting, fast-moving sector.

“Engaging, interactive events such as this one are a fantastic way of bringing the sector to life, while showcasing the endless career possibilities and opportunities that cyber security has to offer.”

Sergeant Steve Gillies and Constable Gordon MacDonald of the Safer Communities Cyber Crime Prevention team will attend the event on behalf of Police Scotland.  

Sergeant Gillies said: “We are delighted to have been invited to participate in such an exciting event and are looking forward to delivering a presentation that we hope will enthuse and encourage the next generation into careers in the cyber industry.

“We will also take the opportunity to provide advice and guidance on the subject of social media and how to protect yourself and keep safe online.”