Amid the annual tradition of A-level results day, the first students to sit a new Extended Project Qualification for young people aged 14 and up looking to start a career in cyber security have also been receiving their grades, with promising results.
The first intake to the course comprised a total of 132 students – 72 drawn from state schools, 42 from independent schools, six from sixth form colleges and another 11 independent students – 68% of whom scored results putting them in the A* to B category. Of those, a third were girls.
Backed by the Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) and part-funded through the now-defunct Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the CyberEPQ course was first announced in December 2022.
Devised by a group of educators and cyber specialists, the CyberEPQ course is designed to act as a starting point for young people who might want to consider a career in cyber security, and helps them bridge the gap between GCSE computer science courses and cyber security degrees. The Level 3 City & Guilds accredited qualification is also worth up to 28 UCAS points.
“We’re delighted with the results of the inaugural CyberEPQ cohort, which we believe is one of the best starting points for young people to begin developing their careers,” said Nicky Bodily, CyberEPQ lead at CIISec.
“It has been rewarding to see the students progress throughout the year, and they should be proud of their achievements today. This qualification provides a springboard for individuals from any background to enter the world of cyber security, and I am looking forward to seeing what roles in cyber they decide to pursue.”
Students taking the course study 10 core modules and up to three elective specialist modules, with topics including the history of computing and cryptography, cyber crime, incident response management and human aspects of cyber, as well as developing time and project management skills.
It also opens access to the resources available through a professional body such as CIISec, including advice and guidance from students and academics in the university system, and established security professionals and corporate partners. Students achieving A* to B grades receive a year’s free Accredited Affiliate membership of CIISec, while those achieving C to E grades receive Affiliate membership.
“Whatever their ambition, the CyberEPQ helps young people on their journey to find the role that’s right for them,” said Bodily.
“The cyber security industry is vast and has many roles within it. From cyber digital investigation to risk management professionals, it’s important for the industry to showcase the opportunities out there for everyone. This qualification plays an important role in doing this and attracting fresh talent that the industry desperately needs.”
Enrolment for the 2023-2024 academic year is now open, and prospective students can learn more by visiting the CyberEPQ course website, or emailing [email protected].