The NDA Cyber Security Lab offers courses, from summer taster programmes to degree apprenticeships. Though this facility exists locally, many school learners are reluctant to apply to what may be perceived as ambitious and unknown. The Cyber First programme has limited places, and despite learner interest, the uncertainty and hesitation has led to late applications or none at all, meaning none of the schools’ learners accessed the programme.

The Cyber Security project seeks to remove these obstacles and immerse learners in a highly engaging programme developing their awareness and skills relating to cyber security, their familiarity with the facility and the potential career paths, and their understanding of the employment opportunities available – in particular the degree apprenticeships. The project saw learners work with a number of local employers, including Thomas Armstrong, who will support the development and understanding of cyber security and computer processes. Learners took part in whole-day workshops at the Lab where they learnt everything from ethical hacking to developing a firewall; ultimately, learners took part in a simulated ‘capture the flag’ cyber-attack and defence activity. We hope that the project will have benefited learners through increased confidence and familiarity with one of the premier providers of higher level apprenticeships.

The National College for Nuclear offers outstanding facilities, courses (including a number of higher apprenticeships and degrees) and employer access. This project aimed to develop an engagement and familiarity with the facilities and opportunities available; learners took part in a six-week ‘Radioactive’ higher level (post GCSE) programme of study aimed at developing understanding and setting the bar for higher level study. The programme culminated in an immersion day at the College with learners working on projects involving virtual reality and a lab based experiment with a simulated radiation drill including full security lock down and decontamination!

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