Almost 1,250 people applied for 23 apprentice roles as part of a bold new pilot scheme to help protect the nation’s critical national infrastructure from cyber threats and attacks.
The apprenticeships in Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) scheme aims to help develop tomorrow’s online security professionals and tackle the risk of a future skills shortage.
The successful recruits will be employed in energy, water and transport companies which cyber criminals could target. Thirteen firms including Northern Powergrid and Network Rail are taking part in the initiative.
The scheme will see the apprentices receive around 60 days of specialist classroom and lab training alongside their on-the-job education where there will work with existing cyber security professionals. This will help them develop skills to become cyber security professionals in under two years.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “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.
“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.
“It’s fantastic to see such a huge response to this scheme and I’m sure all the apprentices will help make these workplaces more productive, bring in fresh ideas and contribute from day one.”
Training will include a three-day capture the flag cyber security workshop as well as topics including ethical hacking, network defence, malware analysis, cryptography, encryption and cyber security operations. This will be delivered by an external provider at sites across the country.
The apprentices will complete the new Cyber Security Technologist higher apprenticeship standard, which has been developed by Government working with industry. The scheme is for those aged 16 and over with a natural flair for problem solving and a passion for technology.
The programme is led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and part of the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme.
Cyber security is a fast-paced and fascinating industry with strong job prospects. Recent figures from the Tech Partnership show there are already 58,000 cyber security specialists in a growing sector worth £22bn a year to the economy.
The apprenticeships in Critical National Infrastructure scheme is one of a number of cyber skills initiatives to develop a strong supply of cyber security professionals alongside the Government’s Cyber Schools Programme and Cyber Retraining Academy. The pilot will contribute to the goal of delivering up to 1,000 cyber apprenticeships by 2021.
The figures are released as part of Government’s celebration of National Apprenticeship Week.
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