National Cyber Security Centre
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Tech-savvy students urged to join fight protecting UK from cyber attacks

The NCSC is supporting the next generaion of cyber security experts through funding and training.

  • National Cyber Security Centre is nurturing a talent pipeline through funding and training
  • Applications for £4,000 annual CyberFirst bursary for university students closing soon
  • New CyberFirst degree apprenticeship puts school leavers on three-year GCHQ placement
  • Competitive recruitment process begins after upcoming application deadline

A DRIVE to nurture the next generation of cyber security experts will see tech-savvy teens trained for a career in national security tackling online attacks.

Applicants for the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) CyberFirst £4,000 student bursary and new degree apprenticeship must register for the competitive recruitment process before Monday November 27 and Monday November 20 respectively.

CyberFirst is a pivotal part of the UK government’s National Cyber Security Programme which serves to find, finesse and fast-track tomorrow’s online security experts.

Chris Ensor, Deputy Director for NCSC Skills and Growth said:

“We’re looking for motivated, technically orientated individuals from all backgrounds who want to work in national security and make a positive impact on the world.

“Cyber security is an integral part to the UK making the most of the digital age, and we hope CyberFirst will help young people develop skills that lead to dynamic and rewarding careers.

“For the apprenticeship scheme, a keen interest in programming, computing and technology is essential. Although previous experience in coding would be advantageous, it’s not required as you’ll have the opportunity to develop these skills on the apprenticeship.”

Universities Minister, Jo Johnson said:

“This Government is invested in giving all young people access to university and ensuring that there is a steady stream of highly-skilled graduates entering the workplace, to meet the needs of the British economy.

“The fantastic CyberFirst scheme offers talented young people assistance with studying STEM at university and an opportunity to go on to work in the cyber security industry, backed by a world class apprenticeship.

“Digital skills are a vital to our future prosperity, and programmes such as this will ensure young people are armed with the skills to secure good jobs with top employers.”

The CyberFirst Bursary scheme has run since 2016 to support the best and brightest students taking STEM subjects and, depending on meeting requirements, a chance to work in national security on graduation.

The annual CyberFirst Bursaries, worth £4,000, are available for up to 250 students reading STEM degrees. Successful applicants will be offered the Bursary before confirming their place on the university course, as well as 8-10 week summer paid work placements and, depending on meeting requirements, employment on graduation.

Lucy, a current CyberFirst Bursary recipient having been accepted onto the scheme last year, said:

“Being a CyberFirst Bursary student is an amazing experience.

“My ambition for after graduation is to be on the cutting edge of research and innovation, finding new ways to protect Critical National Infrastructure and helping organisations recover after cyber attacks.

“My advice for people coming on to this scheme would be to let yourself be open to trying new things and to be prepared to keep learning throughout your career. The world of cyber security is developing so quickly and you need to be able to adapt to all these new change.”

For the first time this year, the brand new £18,000 per year Cyber Security Degree Level Apprenticeship will see young people embedded in the NCSC’s parent organisation, GCHQ. The initiative is open to students who receive 3 A-Levels in any subjects at grade C or above (or equivalent).

Successful applicants will undertake a Level 6 degree apprenticeships, learning everything from code to emerging technologies, with a potential full-time role at the end.

The UK Government is fully committed to defending against digital threats and set up the NCSC last year through the five-year National Cyber Security Strategy, supported through £1.9 billion transformative investment.

The organisation works in a transparent manner and relies on good relationships with industry and government partners. In its first year, the NCSC managed 590 significant cyber incidents across the UK and has prevented tens of millions of attacks through pioneering Active Cyber Defence measures.

Further information

You can see the CyberFirst application pack here. For specifics on the overall scheme, visit

CyberFirst Bursary (open for 2018 intake)

  • CyberFirst is a student scheme inspired and led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which aims to support and prepare undergraduates for a career in cyber security. NCSC partners with other government departments and selected industry, offer students £4,000 per year and paid cyber skills training to help you kick start a career in cyber security.
  • Students currently in their first year of university study and those applying for a university place in September 2018 can apply for the Student Bursary and Development scheme now.

CyberFirst Degree Apprenticeship (open for 2018 intake)

  • The CyberFirst Degree Level Apprenticeship is a NEW three year apprenticeship where you’ll get exposure to some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies along with practical insights into the innovative ways we use them to provide cyber security to our customers. Successful applicants will be offered the opportunity to earn while you learn, with a salary and all the benefits that you would expect from a Civil Service organisation.
  • For students expecting (or holding) A Level grades in any subject at grade C or above (or equivalent) and have a minimum of 2 IGCSE/GCSE STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) subjects at grade B or above including IGCSE/GCSE in maths, you can apply now for Degree Level Apprenticeships.


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