HMRC to lead on cyber security apprenticeships

Department to take on 25 apprentices this year backed by National Cyber Security Programme funds

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is planning to take on 25 apprentices this year as one of the first steps in the implementation of the Government’s Cyber Security Apprenticeship Scheme (CAS).

Dark computer screen with cyber attack textThe department has taken on the delivery of CAS following two pilots led by the Cabinet Office, and is relating it closely to the cyber security technologist standard, which was published in May of last year.

Jon Ashton, HMRC’s director cyber security and information risks, has outlined the plan in a blogpost that highlights three key elements in CAS.

One is that recruitment is based on an applicant’s strengths in areas such as numerical reasoning and technical aptitude, rather than through a competency assessment. The second involves the use of knowledge modules based on blended learning, some in classrooms, some through webinars and some in a virtual environment. The third involves trialling assistant officer rather than executive officer grades, which helps to provide a competitive salary to those enrolling.

Capability gap

The move is related to the Government’s efforts to build up the overall capability in cyber security as part of the national strategy it published last November. The document points to a growing gap between demand and supply for key roles, and places an emphasis on developing home-grown talent as a response.

Ashton adds that HMRC is talking with other departments, which will be able to bid for cyber apprentices to begin along with the academic year in September.

“Ideally, the apprentices will be recruited on permanent contracts across government,” he says. “This will help with the retention of these critical cyber skills and develop them further to become experts of the future.”

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