Perth College UHI and Perth Autism Support’s (PAS) joint project which helped neurodiverse learners with further studies and future employment has been shortlisted in the College Development Network Awards 2021.

Perth College worked with PAS to develop and deliver a bespoke course for young neurodiverse learners, who were interested in cyber security.

The project provided an opportunity for autistic young people to attend college every week and gain new skills, confidence and knowledge.

The programme provided a foundation of knowledge and skills in data security and ethical hacking and a skills pipeline into the cyber security industry.

Perth College UHI sector manager for skills for life, learning and employment Karen Downs explained: “It started as an opportunity for neurodiverse learners to learn about cyber security and consider a career that could match their skills and interests.

"However, supported college transitions, closer links with Perth Autism Support, and staff training to better support neurodiverse learners across the college have all been very welcome outcomes that enhance our student experience.

“We are proud of everything the students involved in this programme have achieved.”

Employability and community development manager at Perth Autism Support Elaine Finnie added: “It has been great to work in partnership with Perth College UHI and support some of our young people to engage and learn about cyber security within the programme, increasing and supporting their confidence in this area.

“They achieved all of this whilst contending with COVID-19, changes within the project delivery due to restrictions and learned a new way of working that they had not experienced before.

“Their personal achievements are therefore a fantastic outcome to celebrate and their level of resilience and commitment has been a very positive end result to the project.”