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Joe and Nick attend highly-sought-after GCHQ cyber security course

16 July 2020  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in: ,

Year 12 students Joe Hughes and Nick Chapman are no strangers to GCHQ – this is the third time they have attended their highly-sought-after courses.  They have attended two week-long courses, Cyberfirst Defenders in Year 10 and Cyberfirst Futures in Year 11, both hosted at Newcastle University where they boarded in university accommodation.

The Year 12 course, named Cyberfirst Advanced, is the third course run by The Smallpeice Trust, inspired and led by the National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC ) a part of GCHQ. The courses are funded by GCHQ, with QA the training provider. Each year the students have to take a test and are then awarded a certificate which is recognised by SCQF (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework).

This advanced course involves gaining an understanding of cyber security as a career; cyber security, computing, networking and engineering skills; assessment under SQA framework to ensure personal development and an opportunity to hear from industry professionals. It includes digital forensics, encryption, open source intelligence, penetration testing and a digital treasure hunt.

A major benefit of completing the courses is that the students qualify for a £4,000 bursary when they go to university, as long as the degree can be used in the cyber security field, which in reality is a huge range including English, Mathematics, Computer Science, Foreign Languages and many other courses.

Nick hopes to go to university to study Computer Science, specialising in Cyber Security, with a view to following a career in this field of work. Nick said: “This course gives you valuable experience in the world of cyber security, and it gives a great first step in learning the skills needed to be successful in starting a career in this field.”

Joe said: “By attending these courses I have gained an insight into the world of cyber security as a career. It initially enabled me to make an informed choice regarding my choice of A-levels and I am taking Computer Science, Physics and Maths, ahead of studying Computer Science at university. I then intend to do a Masters in Cyber Security in preparation for my career. Being able to include all this experience in my personal statement for my UCAS application will hopefully support my application to university. I would like to thank Mr Stephenson for informing me when these courses became available so that I could apply.”

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