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New funding to equip neurodiverse learners with cybersecurity skills – Education News Scotland

Computer security
There is a growing demand for cybersecurity personnel. (Image supplied)

PEOPLE with a range of neurological conditions are being invited to develop their skills in cybersecurity thanks to a new education project.

National skills agency Skills Development Scotland is aiming to boost the career prospects of neurodiverse learners by providing grants totalling £150,000 to higher education centers across Scotland.

Edinburgh Napier, Inverness College UHI, West Lothian College and Perth Autism Support have all received funding for new education programmes.

At Edinburgh Napier, Tthe MASCOTS project will see the School of Computing support neurodiverse learners as part of a drive to combat the global surge in cybersecurity threats.

Neurodivergence, where the brain functions, learns and processes information in different ways, includes Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Internet security
The project is being operated across Scotland (Image by vishnu vijayan from Pixabay)

The  programme hopes equip neurodiverse learners with the skills to help satisfy the mounting demand for people who can identify and thwart the next generation of cyber criminals.

MASCOTS, which stands for Mentoring; Articulation; Supporting; Careers; Opportunities; Taster; and Sustainment, will provide real industry skills for 16 people recruited to the course through the Into Work charity.

The eight-day programme over four weeks in November and December will combine online and classroom teaching, followed by a careers event in January which will introduce the learners to employers.

The core Edinburgh Napier team are Professor Bill Buchanan, from the School of Computing, Basil Manoussos and Matt Burdge 

Professor Buchanansaid: “A more diverse and inclusive world allows every single person to achieve their full potential.

“We are all different and all wonderful in our own ways. Being different is good, and brings forth new ideas and new viewpoints. We spend too much of our lives trying to be normal, but there’s really no such thing as normality.” 

Basil Manoussos added: “A core part of the work is the creation of a mentorship scheme. We aim to provide one-to-one support, and focus those with neurodiverse conditions on understanding how they can match themselves to the jobs market, and on developing their career, and we are keen for those in industry to come and help support our candidates.”

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