Our Cyber Security Level 4 Apprenticeship combines high-quality classroom training with online learning, coaching and on-the-job experience, to develop real world skills in information security.

This QA apprenticeship gives learners the qualifications, skills and technical grounding needed to thwart cyber-crime, decrypt data and untangle malware.

Our programme is designed to build a foundation of skills and knowledge in critical areas. Developing a blend of technical skills across digital security, information assurance and risk to help learners become secure and productive in a commercial setting.

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Entry Requirements for the Cyber Security Apprenticeship

  • An A Level in ICT, OR
  • An International Baccalaureate at Level 3 in ICT, OR
  • A Level 3 apprenticeship in a similar subject. OR
  • A BTEC Extended Diploma in IT (180 credits)

Job role suitability if already in employment:

To help determine whether this programme is suitable for your business or the learner(s) you must be able to answer “yes” to the following questions.

  • Are they working in a full time information security and cyber security role?
  • Will they be involved with researching, investigating, analysing and evaluating security threats?
  • Will they be involved with undertaking security risk assessments, without direct supervision?
  • Will they be responsible for developing and using a security case?
  • Will they be involved with building security into a network?
  • Will they be involved with designing systems using cryptography/key management?
  • Will they involved with mitigating and responding to cyber threats?
  • Have they progressed from a previous technical role for example IT Technician, Network Support or Software Developer?

Note: Speak to your QA Account Manager for more advice on eligibility and job role/existing staff suitability for this programme.

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Learning Outcomes

By completing the Cyber Security Technologist Level 4 apprenticeship, learners will earn the following qualifications:

  • Cyber Security Technologist Level 4 Apprenticeship
  • BCS Level 4 Certificate in Cyber Security Introduction
  • BCS Level 4 Award in Network and Digital Communications Theory
  • BCS Level 4 Certificate in Employment of Cryptography
  • BCS Level 4 Certificate in Security Case Development and Design Good Practice
  • BCS Level 4 Certificate in Security Technology Building Blocks

Unique to this programme – Cyber Labs

A highlight of this QA cyber apprenticeship is one of our future focussed Cyber Labs. This experience immerses learners in real life cyber-attack situations in a uniquely constructed purpose-built facility. Held over three days this hands on practice gives learners the opportunity to overcome distinctive challenges, exclusively at QA.

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The modules in our Cyber Security apprenticeship equip learners with the advanced technical skills they need for their role. Each module develops the core set of skills they must be able to do well to be competent. In each module, learners will ‘discover’, ‘practice’ and ‘apply’ what they’ve learned. This helps them put their newly-found knowledge into action back at work. There are 5 modules to complete with the following learning outcomes.

Module 1: Cyber & Open Source Intelligence

This Module will introduce the learner to basic security concepts and Open Source Intelligence. It will involve lots of hands-on activities.

It will include:

  • Introduction to Cyber Security
  • Operating Systems and AAA
  • Cryptography
  • Infrastructure Security
  • Investingating Infrastructure with OSINT
  • Software Platform Security
  • Attack and Defence
  • Defensive OSINT

Module 2: Networking Fundamentals

This module will introduce the learner to the world of Networking. It will involve lots of hands-on activities.

This will include:

  • TCP/IP and OSI
  • IPv4 and IPv6
  • Routing Protocols
  • Configuring Wired and Wireless networks
  • Managing Network Performance
  • How to use a network visualisation tool such as Cisco Packet Tracer to create a basic network

This module’s hands-on activities will get the learner to:

  • Use Windows and Linux networking tools to troubleshoot networks
  • Use of Cisco Packet Tracer Simulator to set up wired and wireless networks based on requirements
  • Network using virtual machines on Hyper-V
  • Configure networking on cloud systems

At the end of the classroom block, the learner will attempt the BCS Network and Digital Communications Theory exam.

Modules 3: Security Fundamentals

This module will build on the Security Concepts taught in Module 1. It will involve lots of hands-on activities.

It will include:

  • Understand the threats faced by modern networks, systems and application platforms
  • Understand the techniques used to detect, prevent and respond to these threats
  • Build enablement solutions for detection and situational awareness
  • Respond, contain and start hunting out known and unknown threats
  • Use leading ‘open source’ security tools to serve active and passive defence techniques
  • Discover and analyse ‘high risk’ weakness within systems
  • Create an actionable and auditable policies
  • Understand cryptography and its applications in a digital world
  • Begin to analyse, attribute and predict the threats and create an active defence posture

Module 4: Introduction to Cyber Security

The module will prepare the learner for the BCS Cyber Security Introduction exam:

It will include:

  • Why Cyber Security matters
  • Basic security theory.
  • Security assurance.
  • Basic security concepts to develop security requirements (to help build a security case).
  • Security concepts applied to ICT (‘cyber’) infrastructure
  • Attack techniques.
  • Cyber Defence.
  • Legislation, standards, regulations and ethical standards relevant to cyber security.
  • How to keep up with the threat landscape.
  • Future trends.

At the end of the classroom block, the learner will attempt the BCS Cyber Security Introduction exam.

Module 5: A Practical Introduction to Cryptography

This hands-on module will support the learner in building practical skills in using encryption.

This will include:

  • The difference between encoding, encryption and hashing
  • The differences between mainstream encryption standards, i.e. DES, 3DES, AES etc.
  • Difference between symmetric and asymmetric encryption
  • Pros and cons of the above and types of keys (key, password, passphrase or hardware keys)
  • How to use mainstream products and protocols
  • Defending data at rest and in transit using software & hardware means
  • How to defeat “loopholes” in encryption
  • Best Practices for Deploying SSL/TLS in a Cloud Environment

Module 6: Employing Cryptography

The module will prepare the learner for the BCS Employment of Cryptography exam:

It will include:

  • Main cryptographic techniques in use and the algorithms they employ
  • Usage of Encryption in:
  • file and disk encryption
  • database encryption
  • digital rights management
  • ransomware
  • ecommerce
  • wireless communications
  • document and email message encryption and signing
  • data destruction
  • blockchain
  • protecting passwords and other authentication mechanisms- VPNs
  • Features of key management including the key lifecycle and the challenges associated with each stage
  • Legal issues surrounding Encryption

At the end of the classroom block, the learner will attempt the BCS Employment of Cryptography exam.

Module 7: Security Architecture

This module will cover key concepts of Security Architecture and Penetration Testing.

There will be a mixture of Hands-on and introduction to core topics that will support in the next module.

This will include:

  • OWASP security by design principles
  • Security Architecture frameworks
  • Risk Assessments
  • Threat Modelling
  • Basics of Penetration Testing
  • Identifying Vulnerabilities
  • Security Audit Techniques
  • Identity and Access Management

Module 8: Building a Security Case, and Security Technology Building Blocks

The module will prepare the learner for the BCS Security Case Development and Design Good Practice and BCS Security Technology Building Blocks exams:

It will include:

  • Categories of security hardware and software that are available to assist with risk mitigation
  • How each security hardware and software component type helps to protect data and systems
  • How implicit assurance can be used to help select security hardware and software in different situations
  • Features of good systems design and explain how these contributes to security
  • The Trustworthy Software Framework
  • NCSC secure design principles:
  • Common security architecture frameworks in use
  • Purpose and characteristics of a security case
  • Threat Modelling

At the end of the classroom block, the learner will attempt the BCS Security Case Development and Design Good Practice and BCS Security Technology Building Blocks exams.

Gateway & End Point Assessment

This final component will get learners ready to go through the ‘gateway’. The apprenticeship gateway is an internal QA process. It will ensure that your learner’s work is ready to be assessed by BCS. This exists to increase their chances of success.

At this pre-gateway stage learners will:

  • Consolidate and submit their portfolio
  • Consolidate and submit their final employer reference
  • Conduct a mock EPA

In addition to the items above, learners must have successfully completed:

  • All their exams
  • All the Functional Skills exams (except exempted learners)

Once learners have met all the above criteria, they will go through the gateway. When approved, it takes 3 months from gateway to achievement.

During this time, learners will:

  • Complete their synoptic project
  • Complete their interview
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Why choose a QA apprenticeship

  • 91% of QA apprentices go straight into full-time jobs
  • 2.1 million jobs in the digital economy
  • £42,578 average skilled digital salary

Programme handout

Download the latest information about this QA apprenticeship programme.


Our apprenticeship programmes

This apprenticeship programme is part of a wider offering, ranging from Level 3 apprenticeships all the way to Level 7 Masters degrees.

Frequently asked questions

How do apprenticeships work?

You’ll spend most of the time working (80% in fact). You’ll complete work projects – doing all the things you’re learning, right away on the job. The rest of the time, you’ll be learning. In lots of different ways.

You can take your career and knowledge progression as far as you want to go with our apprenticeships – even up to gaining a Master's degree.

Who can do an apprenticeship?

For most apprenticeships, you need to be aged 16 and over, be eligible to live and work in the UK and have three to five GCSEs.

Maths and English are important skills for any career, so you’ll need to have them under your belt. Here’s where it gets a bit technical. You’ll need to (at least) have Functional Skills qualifications at Level 2 in Maths and English. Don’t worry, we’ll check your qualifications for you when you apply and explain.

But, even if you don’t have them yet – all is not lost. You can complete them during your QA apprenticeship.

Each apprenticeship has different entry requirements. Check the one you’re interested in to see if you’re a match.

Who will support me on my apprenticeship?

You'll have a whole team behind you. We'll help you get the most out of your apprenticeship.

  • Skills coach
  • Classroom tutors
  • Your line manager
  • Learner services team
  • Safeguarding

What will happen after I apply?

We’ll get in touch if it looks like you’re a match for the apprenticeship job. First, we’ll call to get to know you better. Tell us what you’re about, what your goals are. We’ll also get your details.

You’ll get a link to upload some important documents – to check you can do the apprenticeship you’ve applied for (proof of right to work in the UK, your qualifications etc.). Don’t worry, it won’t take long.

When we have these, we’ll call on WhatsApp to check your ID.

Next, you’ll get a link to complete your profile. This bit is important – your profile is your opportunity to tell potential employers a bit about you. Your skills. Your passion. Why you want this apprenticeship.

We’ll keep in touch about the apprenticeship job you applied for. If any others come up that we think you’d like, we’ll let you know. If you’re keen, we’ll help you prep and we’ll set up that interview.

If all goes well... you’ll get the job. Then you just need to start planning for your first day. Hey presto.

If you’re applying for a job with one of our larger employers, you might be invited to an assessment day – or they might have other special steps to take. Don’t worry, we’ll give you all the details.

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