CIISec to manage UK’s first cybersecurity Extended Project Qualification to teach key skills, kick-start careers

CyberEPQ gives anyone aged 14 years and over the opportunity to learn cybersecurity skills including cryptography and incident response management that can be measured against an industry-recognised framework.

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The Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) has announced it is managing the UK’s first and only Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in cybersecurity aimed at kick-starting careers in the field. The Level 3 CyberEPQ gives anyone aged 14 years and over the opportunity to begin their professional cybersecurity journey and will now integrate with CIISec’s broader training and career development programmes.

Students will be able to study a variety of cybersecurity modules to learn key skills that can be measured against industry-recognised standards. Professionals and academics say the qualification will provide a strong starting point from which to further develop careers in the field.

CyberEPQ includes modules on cybercrime, incident response management

Originally introduced by Qufaro in 2016, the CyberEPQ – under CIISec’s management – will open access to the full support of a professional body and an extensive community, ranging from students and academics at CIISec’s academic partner institutions, through to established security professionals and corporate partners. It will be underpinned by CIISec’s skills framework, which is designed to help individuals and organisations understand what skills are needed to fulfil a specific role at a specific level.

There are no formal entry requirements to the course, which is the equivalent of half an A Level and is worth up to 28 UCAS points, although it is recommended that participants have studied at Level Two (GCSE level or equivalent). Those enrolled will study 10 core modules and up to three specialist modules including the history of computing and cryptography, cybercrime, incident response management, and the human aspects of cybersecurity.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Level 3 CyberEPQ into our broader programme,” commented Amanda Finch, CEO of CIISec. “This qualification will play a key role in attracting a fresh pool of talent, which the industry so desperately needs to keep up with evolving cyberthreats.”

Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Nottingham and director of CIISec Steve Furnell added that the qualification will give individuals practical skills that can be measured against a recognised framework. “The CyberEPQ qualification gives an excellent starting point from which to further develop careers in the profession,” he said.

Qualification will be welcomed by cybersecurity students, hiring organisations

Kevin Curran, senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and professor of cybersecurity at the University of Ulster, tells CSO that he expects the revamped CyberEPQ to be well-received by businesses and students alike. “I would expect hiring companies to respect this certification as CIISec are a trusted provider of education. A certification like this should also act as a motivation for any young person considering a career in security right now and would make a university course a breeze. The main point is that this professional course is available to young people from the age of 14 – what a perfect age to learn about cybersecurity.”

The EPQ also allows students to lead their own projects where they get to plan and carry out research on a topic that they have chosen and is not covered by their other qualifications, Curran adds. “They can take inspiration from something touched on in class or something personal and unrelated to their studies. They then use this research to produce a written report and, in the case of practical projects, an artefact or a production. They also learn to be independent learners and problem solvers.”

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