Press release

New pathways for the UK’s future cyber security experts

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Francis Maude has announced new initiatives to help young people find a career in cyber security.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude announced new initiatives to help young people kick start a career in cyber security, including new apprenticeships, more civil service cyber specialists and offering cyber security training in further and higher education.

The UK cyber security industry is worth £6 billion, employs over 40,000 people and is expected to grow significantly in coming years. With awareness of cyber threats increasing, businesses and government are taking steps to encourage people studying or entering the job market to see cyber security as an exciting and rewarding career to fill an increasing demand in this sector.

To achieve this, the government’s National Cyber Security Programme, in partnership with a range of organisations, is backing new initiatives including apprenticeship schemes and further education initiatives, which will broaden entry routes into the profession. These include:

  • introducing a new cyber strand to the civil service fast track apprenticeship scheme: through the Tech Partnership, employers have created the first ever apprenticeship frameworks in cyber security. With the government’s additional 50 fast track places now coming this year, this means over 250 new entry-level jobs for school leavers, with more in the pipeline.
  • introducing cyber specialist apprenticeships: the Tech Partnership is introducing a new specialist cyber security apprenticeship to train young people to become cyber intrusion analysts, monitoring and defending organisations from attack in security operations centres. The first vacancies are expected in autumn 2015.
  • boosting civil service cyber specialists: cyber security is now a skills discipline in the newly revised Civil Service ‘Digital & Technology’ (DaT) Fast Stream. Graduate participants will gain valuable technical experience as part of the broad curriculum and can specialise in their third year. In support of government’s commitment to providing services that are digital by default, we will be increasing our DaT Fast Stream intake this year to 70 to 80.
  • further education: cyber security will be an integral feature of all computing and digital further education qualifications at levels 3 and 4 from September 2016. This will mean that all 16- to 19-year-olds pursuing relevant vocational qualifications will receive a basic grounding in the fundamentals of cyber security.
  • innovative education programmes (ranging from lesson plans and teaching materials to competitions and expert speakers) have been developed to help further education colleges and schools engage pupils in cyber security and highlight career opportunities. A guide to these programmes is now available.
  • cyber security for undergraduates: from next year, cyber security will become a mandatory element of all undergraduate courses accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Security is already a requirement for degrees accredited by the British Computer Society – the Chartered Institute for IT. Experts are coming together to propose a curriculum framework which will help universities understand and meet these requirements.
  • new ‘Cyber Citizens’: the National Citizen Service (NCS) will have a cyber security option, through promoting the Cyber Security Challenge and other initiatives on the NCS Opportunity Hub to the 130,000 young people that have taken part in NCS since 2011. Local NCS partners will get links to cyber security organisations and information to support young people choosing to incorporate cyber security into social action projects that they take part in through NCS.

Francis Maude, Minister for Cabinet Office said:

The UK has a vibrant cyber security sector which we want 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.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, UK Managing Director of City & Guilds, 1 of the 6 awarding bodies including cyber security in computing courses, 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.

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.

Dr Janet Brown, Chief Executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) which is also an awarding body, said:

We welcome the UK government’s announcement that cyber security will be an integral feature of all computing and digital vocational qualifications from 2016 onwards. 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.

And David MacKay, Head of Awarding Body Stakeholder Engagement at Pearson, said:

Pearson delivers a wide range of academic and vocational qualifications which develop an understanding of IT and computing. These qualifications currently contain units including cyber/information security. 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.

Notes to editors

  • the projects referred to in this press notice are being taken forward by the Cabinet Office and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with their delivery partners, as part of the government’s £860 million National Cyber Security Programme.

  • last month, ahead of Apprenticeships Week, Francis Maude the Minister for the Cabinet Office announced that there would be an increase from 200 to 750 civil service apprenticeships, including 50 cyber security fast track apprenticeships.

  • seven training providers are currently involved in delivering the apprenticeships courses, with 2, QA and TDM, already licensed by the Tech Partnership as Tech Industry Gold for the outstanding quality of their cyber security apprenticeship training, and other providers likely to follow. The government is meeting training costs for 16- to 18-year-olds and contributing half of the cost for 19- to 24-year-olds.

  • during the 3-year ‘Digital & Technology’ (DaT) Fast Stream scheme participants will be encouraged to try different roles in different departments to develop a variety of digital, technology, operational and delivery skills. Cyber security will be introduced as a skills discipline offering a grounding in the subject as part of a broad curriculum, with the opportunity to specialise in cyber security during their third year.

  • awarding bodies OCR, Pearson, City & Guilds, AQA, CBAC & SQA have agreed to include cyber security components in all digital and computing courses at level 3 and level 4. Students will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of cyber security issues in relation to the design, development and use of information systems. These qualifications are aimed at those seeking employment in ICT, and will provide the knowledge and skills for dealing with cyber security issues and how to work with others to combat them.

  • National Citizen Service (NCS) builds confidence and leadership potential at a critical point in young people’s lives, provides skills for life and work, is valued by employers and is a great addition to CVs. It is highly successful and has already attracted 130,000 participants. Incorporating cyber security into NCS will allow us to signpost participants to the Cyber Security Challenge Schools and Cyber Centurion competitions, as well as relevant cyber security resources from the Tech Partnership.

  • experts from a number of professional bodies (led by (ISC2), academia, employers and government have come together to agree how key cyber security concepts can be embedded across undergraduate computing science and IT-related degree courses. This new framework will provide guidance to help universities understand how best to meet the requirement for mandatory security learning outcomes within undergraduate degrees accredited by the Chartered Institute for IT, British Computer Society and Institution of Engineering and Technology. The new framework will be showcased at the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing annual conference on 27 to 28 April 2015.

  • Cyber Security Challenge UK – with the backing of founding sponsors like the SANS Institute, the Challenge started out in 2010 to create a series of virtual and face-to-face competitions that would identify talented people for the cyber security industry. Now entering its 6th year the Challenge is backed by over 50 of the UK’s most prestigious public, private and academic organisations, and hosts a wide programme of activities designed to spread the word about why cyber security is such a fulfilling and varied career and help talented people get their first cyber security jobs. Working from school level right through to helping career changers make the transition across, the Challenge is making a notable difference to the career prospects of those with the talents and aptitude to become cyber security professionals.