Pioneering cybersecurity training session designed for educators from a non-technical background set to be delivered in Shetland so they can inspire the island’s children to find out more about the lucrative and fast-moving world of online security and potential careers within Scotland’s digital economy.

Developed by Shetland based Mesomorphic, Converged Communication Solutions and Skills Development Scotland the online training session will take place on 19 August and will involve Shetland educators both in and outside of the classroom.

Tech recruiters facing growing skills shortage

The collaboration was the brainchild of Maria Bell, MD at Mesomorphic, a bespoke software provider passionate about developing their engagement pipeline to inspire the next generation of developers and address a growing skills gap. Access to talent will continue to be a challenge with analysis of ONS data by CodinGame concluding that tech recruiters face a growing digital skills shortage despite the number of developers in the UK private sector haven risen by 74,000 in the past three years.

Silicon Croft is the name of Mesomorphic’s engagement model designed with three outcomes in mind; engage the next generation of developers, encourage collaboration and innovation, and put Shetland on the map for its digital economy. Their engagement pipeline starts at primary school and goes through to further education, providing various learning opportunities for students to develop their digital skills.

Train the trainer approach

Designed with sustainability in mind, Silicon Croft supports and trains educators both in and out of the classroom so they can use resources found in Silicon Croft. Shetland’s growing digital economy has a global reach, and as more local employment opportunities within the digital economy are created, Silicon Croft will help produce a wealth of high-quality local talent to fill these roles.

Maria Bell, Managing Director at Mesomorphic explained “The idea for this collaboration came to me after attending an industrial review session of the new cybersecurity virtual engagement models created by Skills Development Scotland. This seemed like a great resource to incorporate into Silicon Croft, and it seemed only natural to partner with cybersecurity experts Converged who share the same passion for engaging our future workforce”.

Aberdeen based, Converged is an independent Internet Services Provider (ISP), telephony, IT support and security specialist. Following significant investment, accreditations include Cyber Essentials Plus Assessor, IASME Gold Assessor and Trusted Partner of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre.

Giving educators the tools they need to teach youngsters

Robbie Ross, CSO at Converged commented “Our ongoing commitment to educating young people around the importance of staying safe online and highlighting cyber security career opportunities, meant that I had no hesitation in accepting Maria’s invite to get involved. Through Career Ready, DWY and TechFest I’ve loved doing my bit to teach and inspire youngsters on the mainland and I’m delighted to extend this to Shetland pupils. When creating this programme, it was absolutely right that Maria added a cyber security training element to this train the trainer session. Alongside teaching coding skills, it’s vital that youngsters also learn how to stay cyber safe. The session on the 19th Aug will give educators all the tools they need to do this.”

Mesomorphic and Skills Development Scotland have been working closely together over several years, on both a local and national level. From classroom engagement sessions, through to sitting on Technical Expert Groups to assist with the development of new apprenticeships they work closely alongside Developing the Young Workforce to map out clear pathways into the digital sector.

Talking about the collaboration Debbie McCutcheon, Digital Skills Project Manager at Skills Development Scotland said “Our Tech Industry in the Classroom programme focuses on teachers and industry leaders working together to create and deliver an experience for learners which is as close to being in the real working world as possible. Not only are the tech firms giving something back to our young people and teachers, but they also get a real opportunity to shape and mould the skills that can help with their future recruitment needs. By extending this to librarians and careers advisors in Shetland, we are widening our reach to young people in the hope that we can get more people aware of, and into, tech jobs across the whole of Scotland and aim to roll this innovative approach out to other areas in the future.”

Discover Tech Skills Programme – Live Online Lessons – Developed by SDS

With no technical knowledge needed, these practical, hands-on classes provide digital skills, allow pupils to ask the experts how it’s really done and showcase the world of careers in the rapidly growing cyber security and tech sector.

The lesson covered in training is Rob the Bank, where students learn how to stop a cyber-criminal by thinking like one. Your challenge is to break into Strathclyde Bank.

Learners will find a way to remotely connect and log into the Strathclyde Bank website using stolen customer details and transfer the money to our own secret bank account, giving learners the experience of working as an ethical hacker.