CIISec CyberEPQ qualification will kick-start cyber security careers 


9th February 2022

Incorporating UK’s first and only qualification of its kind into CIISec gives individuals the best possible start in cyber security 

The Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) today announced it is managing the UK’s first and only Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) in cyber security. The Level 3 CyberEPQ will give anyone from 14 years old the best possible opportunity to kick-start their cyber security career and will integrate with CIISec’s broader development programmes to provide a clear pathway to progress.  

Originally introduced by Qufaro in 2016, the CyberEPQ provides a starting point for anyone considering a career in cyber security. Now under CIISec’s management, and with rebranding underway, the qualification will become a more integral part of helping people to start and then progress their cyber security careers, from apprenticeship to university to full employment. It 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. 

“We’re delighted to welcome the Level 3 CyberEPQ into our broader programme,” commented Amanda Finch, CEO of CIISec. “This qualification provides a springboard for individuals to start their careers, and, embedded within our development programme, it will help individuals to understand exactly what skills are needed to progress in their roles. From cyber digital investigation professionals to system architects and testers to cryptographers to risk management professionals, the variety of roles available in the industry is vast and there are opportunities out there for everyone. 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 cyber threats.”

Students taking the CyberEPQ study ten core Modules and up to three Specialist Modules, as well as developing time and project management skills. Module topics include History of Computing and Cryptography, Cybercrime, Incident Response Management and Human Aspects of Cyber Security. 

The qualification is underpinned by CIISec’s skills framework, which is designed to help individuals and organisations understand precisely what skills are needed to fulfil a specific role at a specific level. This helps them to not only gain a clear understanding of individuals’ skillsets, but exactly what is required to progress. Students that enrol in the CyberEPQ will also have access to CIISec’s development programme, which supports individuals and their employers at all stages of their career, from apprenticeships to junior-level associates, to full members and people at the peak of their careers. 

There are no formal entry requirements to the course. Students must be 14 years old or above, and it is recommended that they have studied at Level Two (GCSE level or equivalent). The course is 120 Guided Learning Hours, the equivalent of half an A Level, and is worth up to 28 UCAS points. The CyberEPQ is already accepting new students for 2021-2022. To apply or find further information, visit https://cyberepq.org.uk

“The CyberEPQ qualification gives an excellent starting point from which to further develop careers in the profession,” comments Steve Furnell, Director of CIISec and Professor of Cyber Security at the University of Nottingham. “By having the opportunity to get involved with real cyber security tasks, it will leave individuals with practical skills that can be measured against an industry-recognised framework.”

More information about CIISec, its skills framework and membership benefits can be found at https://www.ciisec.org/. CIISec is also currently accepting submissions for its annual survey of cyber security professionals. To take part visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ciisec2021

Due to be released in coming weeks is an ABC Guide dedicated to helping employers understand the benefits of taking on Apprentices within their organisations and the choices open to them. The guide explains the process of taking on Apprentices, the support available and highlights the importance of bringing fresh blood into the industry. If you are interested in finding out more, or would like a copy of the guide when it is released, please email apprentices@ciisec.org.

Key testimonials

Faye, 22, Buckinghamshire
Had it have not been for the EPQ I would not have been interested in taking up cyber security, after the EPQ had finished I took part in Cyber Discovery and now hold a GIAC in digital forensics and am undertaking a degree in Digital Forensics. It was also amazing to have met so many fantastic people along the way!

Jake Nenadic, former EPQ student, studying Cyber Security at Bournemouth
[The CyberEPQ] was picked out by my teacher as a good opportunity to make myself stand out to Universities on Personal Statements. 
Companies are really interested in what you do outside of A levels and outside of your degree. This is something I did off my own back and separately and I think this will really help me in the future.

Sarah Odysseas, parent of an Independent Learner
My son chose the CyberEPQ because he had entered the apprenticeship programme. He had done his GCSEs and he wanted to be able to hone his skills to enter the cyber market. It would enable him to achieve a qualification and place him on a par with A’ Level students in computing. [The CyberEPQ is] Very modular, ... the learning is structured, and he received a lot of support from his supervisor in areas that he wasn’t sure of. [The CyberEPQ] has helped (my son) enormously in that he has now secured a Level four Cyber Security Apprenticeship with the Foreign Commonwealth Office. What put him on a par and what got him the job was the CyberEPQ I think that was absolutely the thing that put him head and shoulders above the other candidates for the position.