Neurodivergent school students introduced to cybersecurity through taster programme

Levenmouth Academy pupils enjoyed a four-week introductory course, delivered by Fife College lecturers with support from Autism Network Scotland

Neurovariant pupils from Levenmouth Academy have enjoyed taking part in a four-week introductory cybersecurity programme.

Funded by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and the Scottish government, under the strategic framework for a cyber-resilient Scotland, Fife College lecturers tutored students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), dyslexic, dyspraxic or diagnosed with ADHD.

After SDS identified a gap in support for these students, they established a fund to finance the programme and teach pupils about the protection of computer systems and networks from information disclosure, and digital forensics.

With research suggesting that neurodivergent individuals – particularly those with autism – are likely to possess many attributes required to succeed in the cybersecurity profession, the programme was designed to highlight and develop the skills that would make students suited to a career in the field.

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Following the successful online delivery of the course to a group of Levenmouth’s S3 pupils, the plan is to extend the initiative to other schools in Fife.

Claire Gillespie, digital technologies sector skills manager at SDS, commented: “The strength of this programme demonstrates a real commitment from Fife College to working with neurodiverse students and providing the support needed to help them reach their potential.

“We know that employers in sectors such as digital technologies and cybersecurity really value diversity in their workplaces as it makes better teams and leads to improved products and services.

“It is very important that we continue enhancing the support available so that every young person regardless of their circumstances has the opportunity to explore the fulfilling and rewarding careers available in the digital sector.”

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