Video: New EPQ offers students equivalent of cyber-security AS level

To address the urgent need for more young people to enter the cyber-security industry, the Cyber Security Challenge UK and partners have launched the new EPQ qualification.

Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK
Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK

The new Extended Project Qualification in cyber-security allows anyone to learn the basics of cyber-security in just three months – and earn a level 3 qualification.

The level 3 qualification is the equivalent of an AS level and is worth up to 70 UCAS points, making it a viable contributor toward university admission requirements.

It will give students an understanding of the entire cyber-security domain, said Cyber Security Challenge UK which developed the qualification in cooperation with (ISC)2, City & Guilds and the Heart of Worcestershire College.

(ISC)2 estimates that by 2020 there will be a global shortfall of 1.5 million in the cyber-security workforce.

For those not in school or college, the EPQ can be studied via distance learning by registering through Cyber Security Challenge UK. Cyber Security Challenge UK also said the EPQ enables students to study cyber-security at a younger age, enabling them to enter the jobs market sooner.

Stephanie Daman, CEO of Cyber Security Challenge UK said: “The launch of this qualification marks a significant point in the maturation of the cyber security industry. The subject is becoming increasingly important and for it to be officially recognised at this level paves the way for individuals to consider a career in the sector much earlier on. You don't need to be a maths genius or ‘computer geek' to find a role; cyber security encompasses such a wide range of areas – from risk management to biometrics to behaviour analytics. We therefore need to attract an equally wide range of students from all walks of life, to fill these jobs. I would urge those at school considering their career options to think about this sector, and those looking for a career change to do so as well.”

Kevin Streater, Independent cyber education consultant and co-developer of EPQ, said: “While there is a plethora of jobs available in cyber security and a critical need to fill them, there is a lack of clear pathways into the industry, so many struggle for a way in. This is reflected by the gap between the new generation of GCSEs, which include cyber security content and university computing courses, which have been enhanced with new objectives, set by cyber security industry bodies. TheEPQ will sit perfectly in the gap where young people are studying further education subjects or for apprenticeships; and will help provide that step up.”

Hear more from Daman and Streater in this video: