Why was the Cyber EPQ created?
The cyber security industry is crying out for more talent to fill the pipeline of jobs. By 2020, 1.5 million jobs in the sector are predicted to be unfilled, (stat: (ISC)2) unless something changes now. We are looking to encourage more people into cyber security, but currently, besides the cyber modules in the computer science GCSE, there is little in the way of entry qualifications below university level. This qualification fills the gap, providing a level three qualification, helping to access higher education options or begin an employment pathway.
What is an EPQ?
An Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an optional qualification taken by some students in the United Kingdom. It is equivalent to an AS-level. The EPQ is part of the National Qualifications Framework at level 3 and is currently graded A* to E. It is also a compulsory part of the International Baccalaureate. The students' choice of topic is usually free, although they must show that it is academically useful, either related to their current course of study, or their future career.
How is the Cyber EPQ different to other EPQs?
In essence, there is no different to any other EPQ. The criteria and assessment are the same and you are expected to do the same amount of learning hours. The difference comes as it provides a unique guided learning pathway specific to the cyber security industry that other EPQs do not have. It has also been designed in conjunction with industry experts to ensure that the content aligns with the requirements of the current cyber security landscape – making it more relevant to seeking employment in the field.
What is the entry criteria for the course?
There are no criteria for studying the course, it is open to anyone. It is recommended, however, that you have studied at level two (GCSE or equivalent) prior to studying this course – typically EPQs are recommended for ages 14+, but that is not a rule. If you are younger and believe you have the ability to see it through then we would welcome an application.
How many hours of study will it take?
It will take around 4 hours per week... plus challenge time to go through activities/games linked to the learning in most weeks, and the updating of a journal which has to be maintained weekly throughout the course.
What happens if I don’t keep up with the learning schedule?
While the course is mainly independent learning, we have developed a clear learning schedule to keep you on track and make the course easier to manage. There is some leeway to catch up if you fall behind, but if you do not complete any learning outcomes within six weeks, you will not be registered to the exam board and cannot complete the course. Your course registration fee will not be refunded.
Why an EPQ instead of other level three qualifications?
The EPQ has been chosen as the delivery method for the new certificate; as there is an existing framework across the UK, to deliver these as part of the 14-19 Diploma or as a stand-alone qualification. Additionally, the structure allows subjects that are not within the current curriculum to be taught in-depth and to a high academic standard and allows some freedom in what you choose to investigate further at the end of the year.
Can international students study for the EPQ yet?
Not Yet. There is no current capability for international students to study the EPQ. This is in progress and will follow at a later point. Do let us know if you’d like to be kept informed about this. The International CyberEPQ is planned to be made available within the present qualification's first year.
I am already studying an EPQ at school/college; can you take more than one at a time?
You will need to check with your school or college that they are happy for you to take more than one EPQ at a time.
Are you providing any lower level qualifications?
We do not feel the need to provide any lower level qualifications at present as cyber security modules are present in the new computer science GCSEs. We are looking to fill the gap at level three.
Are you providing any higher level qualifications?
As above, we do not feel the need to provide any higher level qualifications at present as cyber security qualifications exist at those levels already. We are assisting entry into other, existing higher qualifications or preparing individuals for apprenticeships and other routes into employment. We may look to explore this option in the near future.
As a teacher, I want to be able to access my students’ work – is this possible?
If you are working as a teacher in a school or college environment and your students are signed up through our institutional pathways, then yes, you will be able to access your students’ progress along the way. If you are a group leader but not a qualified teacher, we will not be able to provide access to the individuals’ learning, but can advise on ways to support their journey.
I am entitled to the MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits – can I use these to pay for the course?
At present, we are not able to accept ELCs. This is likely to change in future as the course becomes more established and we are recognised as a proven provider. If you would like to know more about changes to this area, please let us know.
How is the course assessed?
There is a final written element to your course, which asks you to look back at the journey of learning and discuss your progress and particular areas of interest. This essay will be 6000-8000 words in length and will need to reflect your knowledge of the subject area. Along the course you will be asked to complete a learning journal, this document will help to inform your final written piece.
Is there a physical site where I can visit for help?
For the first year, the course will be taught remotely, however, we may look to provide some networking events or face-to-face teaching if required and valued by our students in the near future.
Where is the registered City & Guilds centre?
The registered centre is based at Bletchley Park and has been established by a combination of organisations including Cyber Security Challenge UK.
I have a learning disability and need extra help – is this available through this course?
If you are studying through an educational institution, please contact them directly about your options. If not, please contact us and we can endeavour to assist you further.