Pupils at Rainford High Technology College have been working with former hackers to develop a cyber security package for use in schools.
The college hosted pupils from Neston High School in Wirral and Christleton High School in Cheshire last week, as part of Youth Federation’s Cyber Security Skills Programme.
Pupils from year 10 took part in the day which was led by cyber security experts and former hackers, in partnership with Youth Federation. Students were tasked with developing a cyber safety programme for the use of other schools nationally.
The event was part of a regional pilot scheme which has been rolled out across the North West to educate young people on the safe and ethical use of the internet, whilst promoting the benefits of a career in cyber security to tackle the national skills shortage.
Having already secured interest from the US and Australia, it is hoped that the scheme will be taken up by other UK regions in 2017, following in the North West’s footsteps.
The initiative’s programme manager, Cath Elvey, is currently working as a visiting lecturer in cyber-crime investigation at the University of Chester, having formerly worked under the North West Regional Cyber Crime Unit.
She says: “Young people are generationally pretty tech savvy on the whole but unfortunately too often their need to have easy and instant access has resulted in poor online security behaviours.
“I have seen firsthand how some young people can also take an innocent bit of online gaming a bit too far. Young people really need to know how to handle online situations and the moral and ethical implications of certain behaviors.”
Ian Young, principal at Rainford High, says: “Cyber-safety is a key priority for us as a school, as various online portals and technologies become more and more entwined in our everyday activities. Our young people are very fortunate to be part of a generation which boasts such superb online resources and opportunities, and so it is essential that they are educated as to how to use and enjoy these tools safely and responsibly.
“What’s more, these tools provide numerous exciting career opportunities, and with the current skills shortage in the sector, Youth Federation’s programme has been paramount in sharing these options with pupils, who might not otherwise have considered such a career path.”