Best Cyber Security Apprenticeships Advice – A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring Professionals

Cyber security apprenticeships

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Launching a successful career in cyber security begins with a robust foundation, and cyber security apprenticeships are the cornerstone for developing practical skills and industry acumen. These apprenticeship programmes are specifically designed to bridge the skills gap in the cyber workforce, offering a structured approach to hands-on learning and industry insight. This guide offers a clear roadmap for securing a cyber security apprenticeship and provides the information you will need for career progression within the cyber security domain.

Key Takeaways

  • Cyber security apprenticeships provide hands-on experience, essential knowledge, and foster critical skills like problem-solving and communication, equipping apprentices with the tools they need for a successful career in securing digital spaces.

  • There are many career opportunities and paths for progression following a cyber security apprenticeship; continuous learning and professional certifications like CISSP and CEH, can enhance job opportunities and increase earning potential.

  • Support systems, including government funding, mentorship programmes, and networking opportunities, are instrumental in guiding aspiring cyber security professionals through their educational journey and into successful careers.


  1. Earn While You Learn: Apprentices receive a salary from day one, providing financial stability while gaining valuable experience
  2. Full-Time Employment Opportunities: Many apprentices transition into full-time positions upon completion of their program
  3. Mentorship and Support: Apprentices benefit from guidance and coaching from experienced professionals, enhancing their learning and development
  4. Certifications and Credentials: Successful completion often results in industry-recognized certifications, bolstering career prospects

Duration and Structure:

  • Medium-Term Apprenticeships: Lasting between six months to one year, these programs offer a balance of depth and breadth in learning, suitable for foundational skill development in cyber security
  • Long-Term Apprenticeships: Extending beyond one year, up to two years, long-term programs allow for mastery in the field, with rotations through different departments or teams for a comprehensive experience

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Age and Education: Candidates must typically be at least 16 years old. While specific educational requirements can vary, a strong interest in cyber security and basic knowledge of computer networks are often expected
  • Passion for Learning: A willingness to continuously update and expand one’s knowledge to stay ahead of emerging cyber threats is crucial
  • Research and Application: Prospective apprentices should research available programs, ensuring they meet any specified qualifications or experience requirements before applying

Exploring Cyber Security Apprenticeships

Illustration of a person learning about cyber security apprenticeships

Cyber security is a vibrant and crucial field that safeguards our digital world from potential cyber threats everywhere. As technology evolves, so does the need for highly skilled cyber security professionals.

This is the point where cyber security apprenticeships become relevant. They foster a continuous learning and development environment, evident in testimonials from companies like LEAP Apprenticeships. LEAP is a programme developed by Microsoft that is designed to recruit, develop, and upskill unconventional talent for employability in the technology industry across the globe.

The government apprenticeship programme aims to continuously educate, allowing apprentices to work on significant projects and grow as a cyber security technologist professional.

Apprentices gain unique opportunities for direct involvement in national safety through risk management, thereby acquiring practical experience in cyber security. Working alongside experts, apprentices mature into technical cyber specialists. Aspiring cyber security professionals have access to full time education through digital apprenticeships designed to impart essential skills required for digital support and cyber security roles.

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The Role of a Cyber Security Apprentice

Step into the shoes of a cyber security apprentice and you’ll find yourself in a world where every day brings new challenges and learning experiences. As an apprentice, you’ll:

  • Support digital system users

  • Identify hardware and software solutions

  • Understand the impact of Cyber Crime on a business
  • Implement security controls

  • Manage confidential information

  • Conduct digital forensics investigations

  • Deliver solutions involving cryptography and encryption

However, it is not all about technical skills. Providing security risk advice, guidance, and support is a critical part of the cyber risk analyst or security apprentice’s role. As a cyber security apprentice, you’ll learn about the incident reporting requirements of data protection regulations like GDPR and PCI DSS. Such skills are crucial when handling cyber security incidents well within these legal boundaries.

Qualifications and Skills Needed

So, what does it take to become a successful cyber security apprentice? Firstly, you need to have:

  • A keen interest in technology

  • Desire to defend organisations from cyber crime
  • Strong problem-solving capabilities

  • The ability to work effectively within a team

  • Good communication and organisational skills

Demonstrating these qualities will help you succeed in the field of cyber security.

Through the apprenticeship programme, you’ll develop a firm understanding of tools and technologies like:

  • Python

  • Microsoft Azure

  • Microsoft PowerShell

  • Linux

  • AWS

  • SIEM and SOAR

These tools are vital for a career in cyber security. Fear not if you’re not tech-savvy currently! The apprenticeship programme is structured to furnish you with all the necessary knowledge and skills.

How to Apply for an Apprenticeship Scheme

Once you’ve decided to embark on a cyber security apprenticeship, the next step is to apply. The good news is that there are plenty of opportunities out there. For example, the UK government offers a Level 4 Cyber Security Technologist apprenticeship programme aimed at helping individuals develop into technical cyber specialists.

Apprenticeship opportunities, including those for cyber security roles within the Civil Service, are listed on the UK Government’s Civil Service Careers website. Here, you can find detailed information about the application process, roles, and responsibilities.

You can research the available apprenticeship programmes via the government website or through a dedicated apprenticeship partner. Once you have decided on a programme, find out what qualifications or experience you will need to apply for the position and make sure you meet those requirements.

Submit your application form along with any other required documents such as a CV, cover letter and/or portfolio of work samples, if requested by the employer in their job advert.

You can search for apprenticeships within England using the search facility on the UK Government website

For Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland please visit the UK Government website.

Navigating Your Cyber Security Career Path

Illustration of cyber security career progression

Completing a cyber security apprenticeship is just the beginning of your career journey. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, there are countless career progression options to explore. After completing the cyber security apprenticeship programme you have the option to pursue roles including:

  • Cyber Security Analyst

  • Cyber Security Engineer

  • Cyber Risk Analyst

Lets explore these common job roles in a little more detail.

Cyber Security Analyst: A Cyber Security Analyst is a professional responsible for protecting an organisation’s computer systems and networks from cyber threats and cyber crime. This role involves a variety of tasks, including monitoring network traffic to detect potential threats, installing and managing security measures and software, and responding to cyber incidents.

Cyber Security Engineer: A Cyber Security Engineer plays a critical role in protecting an organisation’s information systems and networks from cyber threats. This professional is responsible for designing, implementing, and maintaining secure network solutions to defend against hackers, cyber attacks, cyber crime and other persistent threats. They work closely with cross-functional teams to ensure the security of data, systems, and networks.

Cyber Security Risk Analyst: A Cyber Security Risk Analyst plays a crucial role in identifying, analysing, and mitigating cyber risks that could potentially threaten the security and integrity of an organisation’s data and information systems. They employ a combination of technical knowledge and analytical skills to assess vulnerabilities, predict potential threats, and recommend solutions to ensure the organisation’s cybersecurity posture is robust and resilient against cyber-attacks and cyber crime.

The expansive and diverse job realm of cyber security presents a multitude of opportunities for expertise expansion and career advancement.

Additionally, successful completion of an initial apprenticeship can lead to advanced programmes such as a Level 4 Applications Support Lead or a deeper analysis role like that of a level three cyber risk analyst or security analyst. Through these programmes, you can further hone your skills and expertise, opening new doors of opportunities at the same or higher level.

From Apprentice to Expert

The stories of those who’ve walked the path of a cyber security apprenticeship before are truly inspiring. Take Kayleigh, for example, who began her career as a cyber security apprentice at the Ministry of Justice. She credits her apprenticeship with significantly advancing her career in the field, and others with a similar subject have found success as well.

However, Kayleigh’s story is more of an exception than the norm. There are currently few documented cases of individuals who have progressed from higher level cyber security apprenticeships to the same or higher level top-level positions. Don’t let this discourage you. Armed with dedication, hard work, and a zeal for learning.

Continuing Education and Certifications

In the rapidly evolving field of cyber security, continuous learning and skill development are crucial. The cyber landscape is constantly changing, with new cyber threats, and vulnerabilities arising every day. Keeping up-to-date with certifications like CISSP and earning continuing education credits is indispensable for staying ahead in the game.

Keeping abreast of the latest cyber security technologies is crucial for cyber security professionals. Some key areas to focus on include:

  • Cloud computing

  • Mobile security

  • Threat intelegence
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

Continuous learning not only broadens your skill set but also paves the way for higher level of career progression, positioning you as an expert and leading to more job opportunities and potentially higher salaries, even beyond the scope of full time education.

Cyber Security Challenges and Learning Opportunities

Photo of hands-on cyber security training

The path to becoming a cyber security professional is not without its challenges. However, it is these challenges that make the journey even more rewarding. As a Cyber security apprentice you are trained to:

  • Identify security risks

  • Respond to incidents

  • Reduce the risk and impact of cyber crime
  • Provide risk advice

  • Support security monitoring

This training prepares apprentices handle real-world cyber challenges.

Cyber security apprenticeships emphasise cultivating problem-solving and critical thinking abilities, integral for identifying and mitigating potential cyber threats even in realistic scenarios. They also teach and cultivate key soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities. These skills, combined with technical expertise, make for a well-rounded cyber security professional.

Hands-On Experience with Live Systems

One of the key benefits of a cyber security apprenticeship is the hands-on experience it provides. As an apprentice, you’ll gain valuable experience in incident response by:

  • Creating, implementing, and testing plans to mitigate the impact of cyber attacks

    and cyber crime
  • Using threat intelegence to understanding cyber threats and work as part of a team to reduce the impact of cyber attacks
  • Learning about the structure and duties of incident response teams

  • Understanding the stages involved in responding to security incidents

Practical incident response exercises using real-life scenarios will help you apply response techniques to realistic risk situations. Working directly with live security systems alongside clients, vendors, and technical colleagues provides you with meaningful, real-world experience. This practical training, simulating the unpredictability of actual cyber attacks, significantly boosts your preparedness for real-world security threats.

Understanding the Digital Landscape

Understanding the digital landscape is a crucial part of protecting a business against cyber threats. As we increasingly rely on technology for our daily business activities, it is critical that we protect these technologies against threats like theft, damage, or unauthorised access. It therefore becomes imperative that we respond to security threats effectively. These key technologies may include:

  • Banking

  • Shopping

  • Email
  • Social media

To prevent cyber criminals from exploiting personal data stored on multiple devices and online platforms, it’s critical to comprehend Internet services. Comprehending the digital landscape goes beyond merely identifying threats; it also involves safeguarding the crucial functions enabled by Internet technology. It is also important to protect organisations and it’s staff from the impact of cyber crime.

The Benefits of a Cyber Security Apprenticeship

Illustration of benefits of cyber security apprenticeship

The advantages of a cyber security apprenticeship go beyond merely gaining technical skills. These apprenticeships offer a unique balance of on-the-job experience and classroom learning, which is key for building practical skills while earning an income. Success stories, like Kayleigh’s, demonstrate the impact of apprenticeships in leading to skilled employment due to on-the-job training and opportunity-rich environments.

In addition, apprenticeships may also include additional benefits, such as:

  • Pension schemes

  • Professional qualifications

  • Flexible working options

  • Childcare assistance

These benefits significantly enhance the overall apprenticeship experience, making it an attractive pathway to a rewarding career in cyber security.

Earn While You Learn

One of the most attractive facets of a cyber security apprenticeship is the opportunity to earn while learning. As an apprentice, you can expect:

  • An average salary of £24,220 per year in the United Kingdom

  • A salary range typically lying between £16,821 and £34,874 depending on experience

  • Starting roles such as cyber security technician or digital support technician can offer salaries of up to £24,000.

Moreover, a significant majority of Cyber Security Apprentice professionals in the UK report satisfaction with their salary during their apprenticeship scheme. Employers in the UK who hire cyber security through apprenticeship scheme can anticipate an estimated yearly financial benefit ranging from £2,500 to £18,000 per apprentice during their training, as their contributions often exceed the costs associated with their training.

Building a Professional Network

Building a professional network is a key factor in career advancement opportunities for cyber security professionals. A strong professional network established during an apprenticeship can significantly impact the apprentice’s future career trajectory and success. Networking, an integral part of the apprenticeship, can help build meaningful relationships offering guidance, support, and access to new opportunities.

Engagement in activities such as attending meetings and conducting research can provide apprentices with valuable networking opportunities. Moreover, volunteering within the cyber security field allows apprentices to meet peers and gain experiences that enhance their personal networks and their resumes. Networking is not just about learning from others, but also about sharing personal experiences and showing genuine interest in the professional community.

Resources and Support for Aspiring Apprentices

Illustration of resources for aspiring cyber security apprentices

As a budding cyber security engineer or apprentice, you are not alone in your journey. There are numerous resources and support systems available to help you succeed. Firebrand is known for providing courses and training programmes essential for those aspiring to enter the cyber security field, equipping them with hands-on experience and practical knowledge. In the UK, government funding covers up to 100% of apprentice training costs for smaller employers, making cyber security apprenticeships more accessible.

Businesses also play a crucial role in supporting the apprenticeship scheme. They offer in-demand tech skills through apprenticeship programmes, ensuring practical learning and career progression. Together, these resources, services and support systems create a conducive environment for aspiring apprentices to thrive, develop and succeed in the field of cyber security.

Finding the Right Apprenticeship Programme

Securing the right apprenticeship programme is crucial for your success in the cyber security apprenticeship. Here are some steps to help you find the right programme:

  1. Utilise online platforms and social media to network with professionals and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

  2. Research the latest vacancies in cyber security apprenticeships.

  3. Understand the application procedures for each programme.

  4. Align your interests and location with the available apprenticeship programmes.

By following these steps, you can find apprenticeship programmes that align with your interests and location.

Remember, the right apprenticeship programme is not just about the technical skills it offers. It should also provide a supportive and enriching environment that nurtures your growth and development. So, take your time, do your research, and choose a programmethat not only meets your career goals but also aligns with your values and interests.

Discover how to get ino a career in Cyber Security within the UK – Read our informative blog and learn how.

Support Systems for Success

The journey of a cyber security apprentice is not a complete solitary one. Mentorship programmes and networking opportunities can provide the guidance and support you need to succeed. Formalised mentorship programmes within the apprenticeship structure can help you develop your skills and guide your career development.

Networking can enrich your apprenticeship experience by granting access to industry conferences and exclusive training, potentially leading to valuable mentorship opportunities. Remember, success in the cyber security field is not just about acquiring technical skills. It’s also about building relationships, learning from others, and contributing to the professional community.


Embarking on a cyber security apprenticeship can be a transformative experience. It offers a unique blend of technical skill development, hands-on experience, and professional networking opportunities.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to switch careers, a cyber security apprenticeship can pave the way to a rewarding career. With the right resources, support systems, and a determined attitude, you can navigate the challenges, harness the learning opportunities, and write your own success story in the world of cyber security.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get an apprenticeship in cyber security?

You can get an apprenticeship in cyber security and gain valuable job skills and qualifications while working. The apprenticeship covers training fees and provides job opportunities in various industries.

How do I get into cyber security UK?

To get into cyber security in the UK, consider obtaining relevant qualifications such as A Levels, Advanced Apprenticeship, or complete a Degree Apprenticeship. Graduates can also enter junior-level roles, while existing IT professionals can transition from IT support, networking services, or telecoms positions. Pursue these pathways to kickstart or complete your career in cyber security.

Is IT hard to study cyber security?

Studying cyber security can be challenging, but it’s not impossible, especially if you have a passion for technology. By cultivating curiosity and patience, you can overcome the difficulties and succeed in mastering the skills.

Are cyber security jobs hard to get?

Yes, cyber security jobs can be hard to get because the field is highly competitive and employers may use experience requirements as a filter. It’s important to consider studying for relevant certifications and showcasing transferable skills to increase your chances of success.

What are the responsibilities of a cyber security apprentice?

As a cyber security apprentice, your responsibilities include supporting digital system users, identifying hardware and software solutions to respond to security incidents, implementing security controls, managing confidential information, and providing security risk advice. You play a crucial role in safeguarding digital systems and information.

What is a cyber security apprenticeship?

A cyber security apprenticeship is a structured programme that combines on-the-job training with academic learning, designed to equip participants with practical skills and knowledge in cyber security.

Through an apprenticeship, individuals gain hands-on experience working in cyber security roles under the guidance of professionals, while also completing coursework that covers theoretical aspects of the field.

This dual approach provides a comprehensive understanding of how to protect organisations from cyber threats, manage security technologies, and adhere to best practices and policies in cyber security. It’s an excellent pathway for those looking to enter the cyber security profession without following the traditional college degree route.

How do I get started in cyber security?

To get started in cybersecurity, follow these steps:

Educate Yourself: Begin with basic online courses in IT and cyber security fundamentals.

Gain Practical Experience: Practice your skills through labs and simulations. Participate in Capture The Flag (CTF) competitions and hackathons.

Earn Certifications: Consider obtaining industry-recognised certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) to validate your skills and knowledge.

Network: Join cyber security communities and forums online, attend conferences, webinars, and workshops to network with professionals in the field.

Apply for Entry-Level Roles: Look for roles like cyber security analyst, network administrator, or IT technician to gain work experience in the field.
Remember, continuous learning and staying updated with the latest cyber security trends and threats are key to success in this field.

Useful Reference Websites Relating to Cyber Security Apprenticeships

    • The official government website for apprenticeships in England, offering a search feature for cyber security apprenticeships among many other fields.
  2. Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education
    • Provides detailed information on apprenticeship standards across various sectors, including cyber security, and outlines the skills, knowledge, and behaviors required for each role.
  3. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
    • Offers resources and guidance for those looking to enter the cyber security field, including information on the CyberFirst apprenticeship scheme.
  4. Cyber Security Challenge UK
    • A series of national competitions, learning programs, and networking initiatives designed to identify, inspire and enable more people to become cybersec professionals.
  5. TechSkills
    • Provides information on technology apprenticeships, including cyber security, and offers a Tech Industry Gold accreditation for high-quality training programs.
  6. British Computer Society (BCS)
    • The Chartered Institute for IT that offers a range of IT qualifications and apprenticeships, including in cyber security, with resources for both apprentices and employers.
  7. QA Apprenticeships
    • Offers IT and cyber security apprenticeships, providing hands-on training and qualifications for individuals looking to enter the tech industry.
  8. Firebrand Training
    • Specialises in accelerated learning and apprenticeships in cyber security and other IT fields, helping students gain certifications faster.
  9. The Tech Partnership Degrees
    • Focuses on tech and digital careers, offering information on degree apprenticeships in IT, digital, and cyber security roles.
  10. Prospects
    • Provides career advice and job listings for graduates, including information on apprenticeships in various sectors like cyber security, with insights into the industry and future prospects.
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With over three decades of experience in the heart of London’s financial sector, I have dedicated my career to the pursuit of robust cybersecurity practices and IT leadership. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Chief Information Security Officer (C|CISO), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table.

My journey in the field of cybersecurity has not only been about personal growth but also about sharing my insights with others. As an international speaker, I have had the privilege of addressing audiences worldwide, discussing the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age. My passion for knowledge sharing extends to my work as an author and blogger, where I delve into the complexities of cybersecurity, offering practical advice and thought leadership.

In my role as a CISO and Head of IT, I have overseen the development and implementation of comprehensive information security and IT strategies. My focus has always been on creating resilient systems capable of withstanding the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

My Master’s degree in Cybersecurity has provided a solid academic foundation, which, when combined with my practical experience, allows me to approach cybersecurity from a holistic perspective.

I am always open to connecting with other professionals in the field, sharing knowledge, and exploring new opportunities. Let’s secure the digital world together.