Free cybersecurity courses for NI children aged 11-14

  • A series of free, virtual CyberFirst courses are being made available to young people aged 11-14 in Northern Ireland, to encourage students' interests in cybersecurity and computing careers.

    Created by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in partnership with educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust, the interactive courses will take place in virtual classrooms throughout February 2021.

    Year 8 and Year 9 pupils across NI are being urged to take part in the programme as with more school closures due to rising Covid-19 cases, it is vital that children learn how to stay safe online, especially when learning remotely.

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    The classes include: 

    CyberFirst Trailblazers – open to any student starting Year 9 in Northern Ireland in the 2020/21 academic year. Students will become ‘digital detectives’, employing digital forensics to identify the source and spread of malicious software and learning how open source intelligence can help with the collection of further information. They will also learn the basics of website customisation.
    CyberFirst Adventurers – open to any student starting Year 10 in Northern Ireland in the 2020/21 academic year. Students will use ‘big data’, work against the clock in a cryptography exercise, and have the chance to create their own models using 3D design software.

    Chris Ensor, the NCSC’s Deputy Director for Cyber Growth said: “I’m delighted we are offering our CyberFirst Trailblazers and Adventurers courses online next year, giving more students from across Northern Ireland an exciting opportunity to develop their digital skills.

    "I would really encourage students to sign up to learn more about what cybersecurity careers actually look like and to connect with other like-minded people with a shared passion for technology.

    "The cybersecurity experts of the future will play a vital role in keeping the UK safe online, and the NCSC is committed to nurturing the young talent this country has to ensure we have a well-equipped and diverse workforce.”

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    Dr Kevin P. Stenson, chief executive of The Smallpeice Trust, said: “With many students continuing to shield or facing the possibility of self-isolation, the online CyberFirst courses will provide a brilliant – and most importantly, safe – opportunity for young people in Northern Ireland to boost their digital skills and enrich their problem-solving abilities from their own homes.”

    Further information and booking for the CyberFirst courses can be found here:

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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