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NCSC recognises cyber degree apprenticeships for the first time

Addition of new cyber courses to National Cyber Security Centre’s accredited list will supposedly help students make better choices and help universities get more funding

Edinburgh Napier University and the University of the West of England, in partnership with Gloucestershire College, have been named by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) as the first institutions in the country to have their degree apprenticeships in cyber security recognised through the NCSC’s certified degree programme.

Several universities already offer full NCSC-accredited degrees, but this is the first time apprenticeship courses have been certified in the same way. The NCSC said it hopes this will open up a new, officially recognised pathway to embark on a career in the security industry.

“For the UK to prosper in the digital age, it is vital for the next generation of cyber security professionals to have the skills and experience needed to keep people safe online,” said Chris Ensor, the NCSC’s deputy director for cyber growth.

“That is why I am delighted to see more university courses certified for providing first-rate education in cyber security – including degree apprenticeships for the first time.

“Our certified degree initiative now recognises a range of pathways into cyber careers, helping students make informed choices about their futures and supporting the UK’s growing cyber sector.”

At the same time, three more universities, the University of Greenwich, Leeds Beckett University and the University of South Wales, have also had bachelor’s degrees recognised by the NCSC. All the newly recognised courses, including the apprenticeships, will for now receive provisional certification, which simply means the course may not have started this academic year, full certification comes once one cohort has graduated, and does not indicate any higher level of recognition.

The latest additions bring the total number of certified under- and postgraduate degrees on offer to 49 at 34 different institutions around the UK, including nine bachelor’s degrees, 35 master’s and three integrated master’s. The NCSC said obtaining its certification gave students a number of advantages, and could also help institutions raise their profile among potential students, both inside the UK and abroad.

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Digital minister Matt Warman said: “Britain has some of the world’s best universities and it’s great to see even more offering specialist degrees certified by our world-class cyber security experts.

“We are making sure our burgeoning cyber security sector has a strong pipeline of talent to keep people and businesses safe online.”

UK government minister for Scotland Iain Stewart added: “It’s great news that Edinburgh Napier University’s degree apprenticeship course has been recognised by the NCSC. This will equip a new generation of cyber security experts with skills, knowledge and training of the highest quality.

“With more than one-fifth of Glasgow’s and Edinburgh’s workforce in digital economy jobs, Scotland is a competitive choice for individuals looking to build a career in the sector.”

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