Apply now for the CyberFirst University Bursary or Degree Apprenticeship

  • The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has increased the number of places available for its CyberFirst University Bursary to just over 300 and places within the Degree Apprentice remain at 40.

    Both schemes provide the opportunity for young people to learn about cybersecurity and be financially supported either through a £4,000 a year bursary for university students or a £20,000 a year salary on the apprenticeship programme.

    CyberFirst is a government outreach and education programme run by the NCSC, as part of the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

    Together with industry and government members such as Tesco, HMRC and the Bank of England, CyberFirst offers wide-ranging chances for students aged 11 – 19 to learn more about the world of cybersecurity.

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    Current university students with at least two years of full-time study left, or those applying to study a degree in 2021 can apply for the University Bursary programme, which will include £4,000 per academic year tax-free.

    It is not means-tested, so individuals can apply no matter their financial situation.

    The initiative includes summer work experience at the CyberFirst Academy or building networks on eight-week placements with government bodies or well-known industry brands.

    Successful applicants will be paid an extra £2,000 for summer work, and when they graduate CyberFirst will help to place them in a degree-level cybersecurity role in government or industry.

    Entry requirements for the bursary include exam grades or predictions of BBB at A-Level (or equivalent to 120 UCAS points) in any subject, as well as a GCSE (or equivalent) in Maths at Grade 6 or above (equivalent of just above a grade B in the old grading system).

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    The Degree Apprenticeship is geared towards school leavers, who if successful, will gain a BSc Hons degree in Cyber Security from a respected UK university with no tuition fees to pay.

    The chosen individuals will earn a starting salary of £20,000 per year, working on live projects for GCHQ, and in gaining their degree may be offered a full-time role when finished either with GCHQ or the NCSC.

    Entry requirements for the apprenticeship include exam predictions of BBC at A-Level (or equivalent to 112 UCAS points), as well as a GCSE (or equivalent) in Maths at Grade 5 or above (equivalent to a high C and low B on the old grading system.)

    One doesn’t need to be a ‘tech genius’ or know how to code for either scheme, as long as you show drive and the ability to learn these digital skills.

    Allstate NI is one of CyberFirst’s industry partners and has already ran virtual cybersecurity courses for Northern Ireland teens aged 14-17 throughout the summer, strongly encouraging young people to get involved in this booming local sector.

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    To find out more, including how to apply for the University Bursary or Degree Apprenticeship, visit 

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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