Cyber security qualifications introduced for school pupils

Written by Alan Robertson on 5 October 2015 in News

Ethical hacking, data security and digital forensics focus of new national progression awards

Qualifications in cyber security are now being offered within the school curriculum for the first time in Scotland.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has launched a suite of national progression awards that will focus on the likes of ethical hacking, data security and digital forensics.

Holyrood revealed plans to introduce the new qualifications, which are the first of their kind to be available to school-age learners as well as the first in Europe, earlier this year.

The NPAs - available at levels 4, 5 and 6 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework - will also be targeted at individuals studying in college and those looking for a career in cyber security.

SQA qualifications director, Dr Gill Stewart, said: “The challenge facing governments, businesses and individuals in securing their online presence couldn’t be greater.

“With the number of devices connected to the internet set to exceed 50 billion in the next five years and the rate of activity and volume of information available online only set to increase, opportunities for malicious intent are ever growing.

“To face these challenges, more people need to be trained, recruited and working in cyber security roles. By offering these qualifications at these levels, we are providing an excellent entry point for learners into the sector.”

NPAs are currently available in a range of sectors, including the likes of childcare and construction as well as enterprise and employability.

The launch of such awards for cyber security comes as ministers prepare to publish a Cyber Resilience Strategy for Scotland following a consultation that closed at the end of August. 

Police Scotland detective inspector Eamonn Keane said: “The nature of crime is changing with nearly all types of criminality now having a digital element.

“Police Scotland has a duty to protect its communities in both the real and virtual worlds, and we are delighted to contribute and participate in this collaborative initiative to enhance, build and develop our digital workforce capability.

“We recognise the need to ensure we build on the indigenous talents we produce to develop good investigators and innovative digital analysts to tackle and prevent cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime in Scotland, thereby keeping people safe and disrupting crime.”

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