As part of a new pilot scheme to help protect the nation's critical national infrastructure from cyber-threats and attacks, 1246 people applied for 23 cyber-security apprentice roles during a three-week application period.
The figures are released as part of the government's celebration of National Apprenticeship Week.
The apprenticeships in CNI scheme aims to help develop future online security professionals and tackle the risk of a future skills shortage.
Successful recruits will be employed in energy, water and transport companies, which cyber-criminals could target.
“As part of National Apprenticeship Week, our cyber-security apprenticeships in Critical National Infrastructure scheme will take those with the right aptitude and thirst for new technology and place them in essential industries with tough on-the-job training,” said Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital and culture.
“This is an important part of our National Cyber-Security Programme and recent Digital Strategy to prepare Britain for the challenges it faces now and in the future.”
Sixty days of specialist classroom and lab training will be received alongside the apprentices' on-the-job education where they will work with existing cyber-security pros.
Training will include a three-day capture the flag cyber-security workshop as well as topics that include ethical hacking, network defence, malware analysis, cryptography, encryption and cyber-security operations.
The apprentices will complete the new Cyber-Security Technologist higher apprenticeship standard, with the government has developed by working with the industry. The scheme is designed for those aged 16 and over with a natural talent for problem solving and a passion for technology.
The apprenticeships in the CNI scheme is one of a number of cyber-skills initiatives to develop a strong supply of cyber-security pros alongside the government's Cyber Schools Programme and Cyber Retraining Academy. The pilot will contribute to the goal of delivering up to 1000 cyber apprenticeships by 2021.
Adrian Davis, managing director, EMEA, for (ISC)² commented, “Unfortunately, the entry-level job market in our field is practically non-existent. Business today is fuelling a paradox of a growing and significant gap in skilled people available and an over-reliance on experience in our recruitment practices.”
“As a result, business is relying on an ageing workforce and overlooking an opportunity to prepare for the digitally enabled future that is already driving economic growth. It is incumbent on government and industry to repair the job market at this level so that we can nurture and develop this interest.”