A-level students who did not get the grades they needed, and are facing the anxiety of going through clearing, should look at Cyber Security Higher Apprenticeships, says Crest president Ian Glover.
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“These apprenticeships are an alternative route to a good career for students who did not get their first or second university course choices without the burden of student loans,” he said.
There is an urgent need for more people working in cyber security, said Glover, but school leavers should also consider that it offers an extremely exciting, challenging and financially rewarding career.
“Initiatives like the government’s apprenticeship schemes open up a future in cyber security to a far wider and more diverse group of young people, combining real-world paid work experience with structured training to attract fresh talent,” he said.
Crest and the cyber security industry have been supporting private and public sector initiatives to increase the number of people entering the cyber security industry with a wide variety of entry points, educational backgrounds and skill levels.
There is also a drive to encourage more diversity by addressing the gender balance and helping people with neuro-diversity to secure employment and harness their skills in cyber security.
“There are incredible people working in the cyber security industry, but there simply are not enough of them,” said Glover.
The projected shortfall of information security professionals by 2022 is 1.8 million globally and 350,000 in Europe, according to the latest Global information security workforce study by information security certification body (ISC)2.
The study also reveals the European cyber security industry has one of the lowest proportions of women. A failure to include women in cyber security recruitment campaigns and the continued focus on technical skills is exacerbating the cyber security skills shortage, say industry experts.
According to Mark Heholt, head of apprenticeships at The Tech Partnership, the number of cyber security jobs in the UK is increasing at nearly 20% a year. “And the average salary of a cyber professional is just over £57,000, so there couldn’t be a better time to enter this exciting career,” he said.
Opportunities for trainees
The new Cyber Apprenticeships give opportunities for trainees to “earn while they learn to become highly skilled professionals,” said Heholt, without incurring any student debt.
To apply for a Level 4 Apprenticeship, a candidate needs 2 A-Levels or equivalent, or a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, plus 5 GCSEs at grade-C and above, including Maths and English.
On completing an 18 to 24-month Cyber Security Level 4 Apprenticeship, candidates are awarded an industry-recognised apprenticeship certificate.
“This certificate confirms they have passed the end-point assessment and are fully competent in the role for which they have trained,” said Heholt.
School leavers can choose either an apprenticeship as a cyber security technologist or a cyber intrusion analyst. A third option of cyber security technical professional at degree level (Level 6) is expected to be ready for delivery early in 2018.
Anyone interested in applying for an apprenticeship can do so using the National Apprenticeship Service job-search tool.