A UNIVERSITY is helping coach the next generation of cyber security experts by supporting four secondary schools.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is working with Glasgow City Council to provide more than 100 secondary school pupils and their teachers access to its technical infrastructure.

The widening access partnership will allow teachers to develop learning materials and will provide students a platform to conduct digital forensic experiments as they work towards their National Progression Award in Cyber Security.

In addition, GCU will run an online Cyber Futures session for the 100 pupils as part of Cyber Scotland Week, which runs from today until February 28.

This will feature insights from current GCU students; the university’s Ethical Hacking Society discussing its activities and the benefits of cyber competitions and challenges; and Proact IT UK, one of GCU’s industry partners, showcasing career prospects in cyber security.

The participating schools in the first phase are Hyndland Secondary, Bellahouston Academy, St Margaret Marys and Abercorn.

Dr Jackie Riley, Head of Department for Cyber Security and Networks, said: “The infrastructure required to enable students to effectively experience the hands-on activity within cyber security is a big challenge for schools and education authorities to provide.

“It clearly has to be secure to ensure there is no damage possible to corporate infrastructures from the students’ ethical hacking activities.

"We are delighted that the expansion of our facilities at GCU, due to the shift in teaching brought on by the pandemic, has enabled us to run this pilot and support the teachers who are struggling to provide the practical sessions the pupils require.

“Having the opportunity to inspire the next generation of cyber security students, and to support the teachers, perfectly aligns with the GCU Common Good mission.”

Chris Cunningham, Glasogw's City Convener of Education, Skills and Early Years, said: "Not only do our young people get the opportunities to access important IT skills, it’s also a chance for our pupils to get a taste of what higher education can offer them for their future pathways."