Adult learning supports a cyber resilient Scotland

Lead Scotland has a new Linking Cyber and Accessibility Project

Tens of thousands more adult learners have devices and data thanks to national initiatives such as Connecting Scotland and the Digital Inclusion Fund and local schemes.  

Digital access to services is incredibly exciting! New flexible, inclusive ways of engaging and supporting community based adult learners with more joined up non formal and formal learning pathways should be possible.  Organisations which support adult learners truly have an opportunity to leave no one behind taking forward the  Adult Learning Strategy for Scotland

Every bright light has a shadow. Our partners at Police Scotland tell us that more and more young people and adults are becoming victims of Cyber Enabled and Cyber Dependent crimes.  

How well is adult learning supporting a cyber resilient Scotland?  How well prepared are our staff, volunteers and learners to talk about cyber security and resilience to support people to understand what they need to do and then how to act on this again and again. Having a strong secure password is essential and a great start, but staying safe and secure online involves making decisions every time we are online. 

We cannot presume that adult learners know how to stay safe and secure online. Some adult learners lack confidence, have limited literacy skills, find abstract concepts hard, some speak limited English and some people need support to learn. Not all websites are accessible for all disabled people even in 2023. Hundreds of learners and 50 organisations told us they  are looking for accessible learning opportunities to make it easier to understand the key messages they need to stay safe and secure online and be able to act on them. 

We are trying to make a difference with our new Linking Cyber and Accessibility project

  • Raising awareness of cyber security and resilience aligned with the Strategic Framework for a Cyber Resilient Scotland
  • Recruiting disabled people to co-design and deliver accessible sessions about cyber security and resilience so that people in Scotland learn how to stay and secure online.
  • Connecting disabled people and carers (and organisations) with the NCSC key messages to build confidence and skills and adopt safe behaviours.
  • Working with the NCSC to produce their key messages in accessible formats.
  • Broadening the range of learning opportunities available to learn NCSC key messages and overcome barriers which prevent people engaging with this subject; learn face to face, hybrid, online, one to one in groups, non formal and accredited opportunities
  • Encouraging more disabled people to work in digital and cyber industries so that these industries have a more diverse workforce producing services which are accessible.

There is a clear link between digital exclusion and household poverty/lower levels of educational attainment/literacy skills.  There is a presumption that everyone will have the sufficient knowledge, skills and understanding to be able to find and trust NCSC messages, interpret them correctly and turn them into action. Organisations, individuals, families and communities have a new duty of care, I think, to protect people from online harm. 

Our project offers:

  • Free accessible resources (based on National Cyber Security Centre guidance)
  • Free online courses via My Lead – Homepage | Lead Scotland and a partnership the Open University our Everyday Beginners Skills course
  • Tutor supported online webinars
  • Train the trainer session for your staff and volunteers
  • If your organisation is an SQA Centre we can share combined learning and teaching resources so that learners can work towards two qualifications: internet safety and cyber security
  • We will be recruiting disabled people to lead webinars and create content, watch this space for employment opportunities.

Blog post by E Whitelock, CEO Lead Scotland to support an input to the Adult Learning Forum for Scotland 11 May 2023

Thank you to the Scottish Government who fund and support our Cyber Project.