Empower

What an amazing event! Last week saw us back at Newcastle United for an introduction to cyber security for 300 year 8 girls from ten schools across the region. This was part of Empower week, developed by the Sage Foundation and CyNam, the cyber security cluster around Cheltenham. CyberNorth was asked to get involved with the Newcastle event with CyNam supporting the Cheltenham event two days later.

CyberNorth’s role was to work with the other partners, including the Newcastle United Foundation, to encourage local businesses to come along and run activities on the day including cyber security though not exclusively, that will enthuse the participants and encourage them to think about the opportunities ahead of them. The idea was that each activity would last for about 20 minutes and would be repeated multiple times throughout the day. The girls were to work around in a carousel giving them a wide variety of experiences. 

Due to the numbers involved, not every school visited every activity and not every business worked with every school. Seeing the room packed with students, teachers, businesses and support staff was spectacular. The organisation was perfect and everything went off on the day without a hitch. Mads, from Sage and CyNam, deserves a special mention as the person who led us overall.

Of course no event like this was without jeopardy. Two days before our event, one of the businesses dropped out due to staffing issues. This would have disrupted the schedule, have led to a lot of rearranging and so CyberNorth was asked if we could step in as a participant. Thanks to Graham from ISNorthEast we were able to put together an exercise around what would you do if there was a cyber attack at your school. BY this time I had lost my voice and so was not much help. Thankfully we had Andrew from CyberNorth and Ross from Sage to provide support.

Before everything got started I took the opportunity to go round the room and either say hello to those people I knew or introduce myself to those I didn’t. Never miss an opportunity for a bit of promotion!

Have I said it was an amazing event? It also got a mention in the Times and the Chronicle.

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