Supporting neurodiversity at West Lothian College

West Lothian College is introducing a new cyber security course for neurodivergent students starting on October 19.

The course is for individuals with additional needs who are looking for full time employment and is part of a project created by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Scottish Government to help bring more neurodiversity into the workplace.

Autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are all examples of neurodiversity and the course will be catered to those who learn and process information differently

Working with the Supported Employment Service and partners at Donaldson’s School, the course will build on the college’s capacity to support more neurodiverse people into further cyber security learning opportunities. 

The pilot for the course will run for 10 students over 10 weeks studying 4 hours per week. The course will cover the fundamentals of cyber security, looking at basic legislation and some hands-on practical work; learning how to identify some security issues and skills to protect against this. Students will gain an understanding of the pathways that are available on completion of the course.

Students will also be offered a further 10 hours on meta-skills, interpersonal skills and communication in the workplace and ensuring that all learners are aware of the pathways available through college or into the workplace.  

Daniel Evans, Head of Business Development at West Lothian College, said: “Neuorodiverse learners have a huge amount to offer the world of work. They are more likely to have close attention to detail and pick up on patterns and alpha-numeric sequencing than others."

The college opened its cyber security lab last year and provides a clear pathway for students to either further study at Napier University or into a position within either a large organisation or a freelance cyber security expert.