Two Walsall College students are currently practising their IT security and hacking skills so they can take part one of the UK’s biggest skills competitions. Stefan Bargan and Luke Jowett are representing the college at the World Skills UK National Finals. They will compete over three days in front of over 75,000 people at the event taking place from 21 to 23 November at the NEC Birmingham.
Designed by industry experts, World Skills Competitions equip apprentices and students with the world-class skills needed to help UK businesses better compete globally.
Stefan, a HND Networking student and Luke, a Level 3 Computing student are involved in the cybersecurity category of the competition. This will see them working as a team to complete challenges involving the vulnerability of computer programmes and ICT systems. They will also have to identify ways to keep hackers at bay.
Facing seven other teams of students from around the UK, they will aim to win either gold, silver or bronze medals.
“Stefan and Luke have the chance to stand out among some of the most talented computing students in the country,” said Mina Katti, Curriculum Manager for Computing at Walsall College. “We’ll be cheering them on throughout the event.”
She continued: “They will need to prove they can work well together, think creatively and problem-solve. This is also about them showing the judges their passion for cyber-security principles and solutions.
“World Skills is an inspiring way for them to experience some of the jobs open to them in future, especially as cybersecurity is a growing area of employment with many career strands available.”
If successful in the WorldSkills UK Skills Competition Finals, Stefan and Luke could be named in Squad UK for WorldSkills Shanghai, China in September 2021.
“I’m looking forward to the competition,” said 18-year-old Stefan from Walsall. “It’s going to help both my course and my career.
“We’ve been practicing for a few months now using operating systems that teach you encryption and network penetration. It will be good to see how of this knowledge we can use for real and with people watching us as we work.”
Luke is also keen to demonstrate his cybersecurity skills.
“What I love about cybersecurity is the idea of trying to break the rules in a creative way,” he said. “Being a defender can be equally as riveting.”
The 17-year-old from Cannock added: “Communication is key to how well we do at World Skills. We know our strengths, we just need to make sure that once the competition starts we decide who’s doing what so that we have a coordinated, timely response to whatever challenges we are given.”