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#Alevelresults: Cybersecurity Options Appear

While around a third of 18-year-olds have been accepted for a university place through UCAS, new opportunities have been opened for cybersecurity experience.

Although statistics from UCAS show that 28.5% of the 18-year-old population have been accepted through UCAS, with 33,630 international students from outside the EU and 26,440 students from within the EU accepted, there is an overall 1% decrease in the number of people placed on undergraduate courses in the UK so far.

However, options exist for those students looking for a career path into cybersecurity, which “are a really good alternative to the stress of Clearing” according to CREST president Ian Glover.

He told Infosecurity that cybersecurity higher apprenticeships are not only an alternative route for those who do not get the choice of first or second university course, but they provide an excellent way to get a degree, along with work experience and without having to take on large student loans.

“Programs like the government’s cyber apprenticeships that provide structured learning, with assessed work activities, result in qualifications and experience that allow young people to enter and progress in the cybersecurity profession,” he said. “It also opens up a career in cybersecurity to a far wider and more diverse group of young people.”

Also offering opportunities today is Immersive Labs, who is offering free access to its cyber-skills development platform. Backed by Goldman Sachs and developed by an ex GCHQ trainer, the technology will give students access to a purpose-built set of ‘labs’ which drop the user into entry-level cybersecurity challenges. 

Each lab is run through the browser and drops the student into a simulated incident which appears as it would to a security team in a company, and encourages them to teach themselves the skills to progress. 

James Hadley, Immersive Labs founder and CEO, said: “The world is crying out for cybersecurity talent, yet the majority of ways we are trying to train these people are broken. While university can be a valuable path for some, its rigid conditions can also be exclusive.

“Not everyone wants to sit in a classroom learning passively. My experience at GCHQ taught me the best cyber-talent is creative and curious; they learn by breaking things and thinking on their feet. Unfortunately, this jars with traditional teaching methods, which I fear is leading to an unnecessary talent drain. We have opened up our platform to give these individuals an opportunity to learn.”

The offer remains open for today and for a week after to those who can prove they haven’t got into their first choice of university via a sign-up form on the website. The labs will stay available for six months and will be periodically updated with new content.

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