During the SC Congress 2015 in London last week, Fred Piper, Emeritus Professor at Royal Holloway, and a pioneer in cyber security education, told delegates that diversity of routes into the industry was needed to meet the current skills shortages, with apprenticeships expected to make an increasingly important contribution.
Now, during National Apprenticeship Week, QA Apprenticeships has launched its Cyber Security Higher Apprenticeship with support from the government. Claimed to be the first of its kind in the UK, the programme will train apprentices in cryptography, forensics, and anti-malware.
The QA Apprenticeships' pilot began in November with employers from banking, technology, and the public sector including the Home Office and Ministry of Defence.
The programme develops technical skills across digital security, information assurance and risk to make apprentices secure and productive in a commercial setting. QA says it is bringing together specialist cyber security training and apprenticeships to create cyber professionals from the outset.
In a statement, Francis Maude, Minister for Cabinet Office, said: “We created the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme because we recognise that young people who leave school for the world of work have much to offer. As part of the National Cyber Security Programme, we are introducing a cyber strand into the scheme to help meet the increasing demand for cyber-security specialists. We want to attract the most talented individuals to the Civil Service, and can offer individuals with enthusiasm and fresh ideas a rewarding career through a combination of on the job experience, vocational and academic training in this rapidly growing profession. We are delighted that QA are delivering our Cyber Apprenticeships Programme.”
Ben Pike, Director of QA Apprenticeships adds: “Cyber security is by far the fastest, and most important, area of growth in the IT industry. Some would say that apprentices and cyber-security are a paradox but our initial pilot has proved otherwise. Support from central government and employer feedback validate our investment in the cyber-security programme that we will be expanding throughout 2015. I am looking forward to seeing QA cyber apprentices safeguarding UK businesses of all sizes.”
Public sector organisations that are using cyber higher apprentices include CERT-UK, DVLA, DWP, HMRC, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, and the National Crime Agency.