Making Cyber Security Accessible to Everyone

Ada Lovelace Day celebrates women in computing and I want to highlight someone who is helping to make cyber security qualifications and careers available to a wide range of people.

West Lothian College computing lecturer Christine Eckford has been shortlisted for the Cyber Educator Award at the forthcoming Scottish Cyber Awards. The Scottish Cyber Awards is a cornerstone of the annual calendar of cyber events in Scotland and the awards ceremony will take place during Cyber Scotland Week in November 2020.

Christine has been shortlisted for delivering a bespoke cyber security course for neurodivergent young people with conditions like Asperger’s and Autism.

The students took part in the ten-week course in late 2020 in one of the college’s Cyber Labs. They learned about the fundamentals of cyber security and relevant legislation, and took part in hands-on activities to identify security issues and develop the necessary skills to protect against these. Students also benefited from engaging with a variety of leading cyber security industry and university experts that Christine invited to speak to them.

All students completed the course and some are now studying full-time cyber security courses at college this year. Much of that success was down to the relationship between Christine and her students. As well as being available to them at all times, she shared her own experiences as a neurodivergent person.

Christine has built on this experience to deliver cyber security courses to other groups of students who would not have typically opted to study computing.

Christine is well-deserved a finalist in the Cyber Educator category at the Scottish Cyber Awards. She is an outstanding lecturer with a talent for making cyber security qualifications accessible to a wide range of people, helping them gain highly sought-after skills.

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