Cyber Security Challenge UK has launched the UK’s first Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in cyber security and, working with education partners, can offer the course to any individual, whether they are a current student or not.
The EPQ is a level three qualification, the equivalent to an AS Level and can be worth up to 70 UCAS points. The qualification, which has been launched to help address the UK’s cyber security skills shortage, will give students an understanding of the whole cyber domain – from risk management to digital forensics.
While the EPQ is an easy addition for those studying in schools and colleges, it can also be studied in an independent capacity by registering through Cyber Security Challenge UK. Anyone can study the EPQ as a distance learning course with the Challenge and achieve certification for their work through City & Guilds. Cyber security is a reasonably young profession and there are not always clear pathways into the industry, particularly as qualifications to date have begun at university level. The EPQ makes it possible for students to consider working in cyber security at a younger age, which is critically important for the future of our country, as we need to build a cyber security job pipeline as soon as possible.
The EPQ is based on the newly agreed National Occupation Standards (NOS) for cyber security, making it both relevant for industry and providing a wide diversity of topics for the students to engage with, serving as a starting point for anyone looking to get into the industry. The qualification has been designed by Cyber Security Challenge UK in collaboration with a number of independent cyber education specialists including (ISC)2 – the world’s largest body of info security professionals, and will be hosted by Heart of Worcestershire College and certified by City & Guilds.
The launch of this qualification marks a significant point in the maturation of the cyber security industry
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.”
According to (ISC)2, the global shortfall of workers in cyber security is set to reach 1.5 million by 2020, as countries around the world continue to see a rise in the number of attacks through the cyber landscape. Because of this, we are seeing a rise in the wage and benefits offered to those joining the industry, with 15% of the sector earning over £100,000 per annum; an appealing statistic for anyone looking to join the industry.
The EPQ has been chosen as the delivery method for the new certificate as there is an existing framework across the UK to deliver these as part of the 14-19 Diploma or as a stand-alone qualification. Additionally, the structure allows subjects that are not within the current curriculum to be taught in-depth and to a high academic standard.