CIISec, DCMS to fund vocational cyber courses for A-level students


Three hundred students from across the UK will receive access to skills, qualifications and professional support to help them establish their careers in cyber security, under a joint programme to be run by the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

CIISec’s CyberEPQ is the only extended project qualification (EPQ) for cyber security in the UK, and was developed be a consortium of educators and security specialists to serve as a starting point for teens considering a career in the sector, giving them the opportunity to bridge the gap between GCSE computer science courses and full-blown cyber security degrees.

It is a Level 3, City & Guilds accredited qualification worth up to 28 UCAS points, and is designed to be delivered via distance learning, studied either through school or independently.

“We want to build diversity in the industry, and attracting students considering their future careers is an excellent way to do it,” said CIISec CEO Amanda Finch.

“Cyber is changing. There are more roles, demanding more varied skills than ever before – from technical knowledge to problem-solving to people skills. At the same time, the threats we all face are constantly changing and evolving.

“Against this backdrop, we need people from different backgrounds, with different experiences and outlooks, to address every challenge the industry faces. With these places, we are looking forward to welcoming new applicants on their first steps to what has always been an interesting, challenging and, above all, rewarding career.”

The DCMS funding will support 30 students in Years 12 and 13 in 10 English mayoral authorities – Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Greater Manchester, Greater London, Liverpool, North of Tyne, South Yorkshire, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England and West Yorkshire.

It covers both the CyberEPQ qualification itself, and the City & Guilds registration fee, and is now open for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years.

The course itself offers training in topics from across the cyber security spectrum, incorporating the history of computing and cryptography through to digital forensics and human factors in security. Students will also receive access to the CIISec development programme, which offers support to individuals at all stages of their cyber careers, from those undertaking apprenticeships, to executive and board level.

“We are delighted to welcome new entrants to the CyberEPQ, which we believe is one of the best starting points for young people to begin developing their careers,” said Nicky Bodily, Cyber EPQ lead at CIISec.

“This qualification opens the door to young people of every background to bring their experiences and knowledge to the industry. By giving students the opportunity to get involved with real cyber security tasks, we are also helping build their practical skills, all measured against an industry-recognised framework. Whatever their ambition, we can help young people on their journey to find the role that’s right for them.”


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