Government unveils cyber security initiatives for National Apprenticeship Week

In National Apprenticeship Week, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude debuts initiatives for young people going into cyber security careers

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude has unveiled a selection of initiatives to encourage young people into a career in cyber security.

The government’s National Cyber Security Programme – in partnership with a number of organisations – will be offering apprenticeships to boost the number of civil service cyber specialists as well as providing cyber security training in further and higher education.

A cyber strand has been added to the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme government has created a framework in cyber security with the support of the Tech Partnership .

Cyber Specialist apprenticeships from the Tech Partnership aim to train young people to become Cyber Intrusion Analysts to work in Security Operations Centres. The first vacancies are expected in autumn 2015. 

From September 2016 cyber security will feature in all computing and digital further education qualifications at level three and four, meaning all 16-19 year olds choosing such subjects will receive a basic grounding in cyber security.

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Range of educational measures

Education programmes have been developed to help further education colleges and schools highlight careers in cyber security. Also beginning next year is a mandatory cyber security element for undergraduate courses accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Security is already a requirement for degrees accredited by the British Computer Society (BCS), the Chartered Institute for IT. 

The National Citizen Service (NCS) will now have a security option via the Cyber Security Challenge and other initiatives on the NCS Opportunity Hub . Since its 2011 launch, 130,000 young people have taken part in NCS.

Announcing the initiatives, Maude said the UK has a vibrant cyber security sector which the government wanted to help grow: “As part of this government's long-term economic plan, we want the UK to be one of the safest places to do business online.

“We need a supply of cyber security experts for the future, so we are taking a series of further steps to attract the most gifted young people to this fast-moving area of technology".

Challenging and rewarding careers

Kirstie Donnelly, UK managing director of City & Guilds said: "City & Guilds is pleased to support the government's announcement that cyber security will be an integral feature of all computing and digital vocational qualifications from 2016 onwards. As digital technology becomes more commonplace and sophisticated, the public needs to stay safe. That’s why we’re enabling professionals to build better, more secure systems."

Donnelly said the digital industries market is an ever-changing environment, and it will continue to evolve: “While this brings a huge range of opportunities, it also brings more risks. That’s why we’re so committed to helping develop the next generation of programmers, coders, network engineers and cyber security specialists. They will clearly have challenging but rewarding careers.”

Janet Brown, chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), said: “SQA understands the importance of developing, engaging and relevant computing qualifications that will appeal to the next generation of programmers, coders, network engineers and cyber security specialists. 

“Computer science is a rapidly evolving environment and the qualifications that awarding bodies develop must capture the attention of learners and demonstrate to them that computer science qualifications can provide a path to a challenging and rewarding career.”

David MacKay, head of awarding body stakeholder engagement at Pearson, said: “As part of our review process for these qualifications, we are ensuring that relevant and up to date content on cyber/information security is included in the mandatory part of the specifications.”

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