Cyber Security Apprenticeships

Want to kickstart your career? Help fight online crime? And protect businesses from security breaches? Read our guide on cyber security apprenticeships to find out how you can make a difference in tech.

Cyber Security Apprenticeships

The world has changed so much. SO much, in fact, that it's hard to imagine a time when smartphones didn’t exist. As technology evolves and we become more and more interconnected, our personal information risks falling in the wrong hands too.

That’s where cyber security comes in. Cyber security was developed as a defensive solution to protect our devices from cyber threats and attacks - like data breaches, malware, ransomware and identity thefts.  

There are tons of roles in cyber security. You could become a network engineer and look after company software by configuring systems and setting up firewalls. Or work in threat intelligence and shield sensitive government documents from hackers.

How cool is that?!

Want to kickstart your career? Help fight online crime? And protect businesses from security breaches? Read our guide on cyber security apprenticeships to find out how you can make a difference in tech.

Can you do an apprenticeship in cyber security?

Absolutely! Lots of companies are investing in cyber security to protect their electronic devices and prevent them from being hacked.

By doing an apprenticeship in this sector, you’ll be helping to secure laptops, iPhones and tablets and keep them away from the prying eyes of cyberbullies.

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to start your career. They allow you to earn while you learn, pick up some awesome qualifications along the way and get paid. 

Oh - and you won’t need to rack up any debts on tuition fees as the government and your employer will cover them for you.

Amazing, right?

How do cyber security apprenticeships work?

Cyber security apprenticeships combine the best of both worlds. You’ll work for your employer, learning about your role from experts within the industry. While dedicating time to your college studies alongside it.

Your employer will decide your schedule. But usually, it’ll be four days a week in the office and one day a week focusing on independent study.

Did you know that 95% of apprentices who complete their programmes go on to secure permanent contracts with their employer? Aerospace company BAE Systems is one of those. 

It’s recruiting 2,600+ apprentices this year in key areas like cyber security and software development. So make sure you apply to be in with a chance.

"“My day-to-day tasks include: scheduling meetings, creating and maintaining matrices and spreadsheets, as well as producing reports on them. I’m also engaging with key stakeholders, creating process maps and developing SharePoint sites.” " (Project Management Degree Apprentice, BAE Systems

Apprenticeship levels 

Apprenticeships come in four levels, depending on your experience and academic background. 

If you want an apprenticeship in cyber security, you’ll need to do an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in IT first to develop your understanding of technology. 

Once you’ve built a hotpot of knowledge, you can apply for a cyber security apprenticeship. Cyber security apprenticeships are available at level 4 and above.

Intermediate apprenticeships

Intermediate apprenticeships are the first step on the career ladder. They’re designed for school leavers like you who want to jump into work after finishing their GCSEs. 

These apprenticeships make you work-ready by easing you into an industry and teaching you key skills that you’ll need in the workplace. 

Qualification: Level 2

Duration: 12 - 18 months

Entry requirements: Two GCSEs at grades 9 - 4 (A* - C) - in Maths, English and IT.

So what can you do with an intermediate apprenticeship? You can become an IT support technician - that’s what!

As an IT support technician, you’ll provide internal and external support to customers. Your job involves maintaining computer systems and networks so that employees are able to carry out their work effectively. 

On a daily basis, you’ll:

  • Diagnose software and hardware issues

  • Repair and replace damaged network components

  • Install and upgrade antivirus software.

Want to know what an IT apprenticeship at HSS Hire is like? Read on to find out.

"“I manage new starters by ensuring all hardware and admin is set up and ready for their start date. I also manage high priority incidents when they arise to ensure they are dealt with in a timely manner.” " IT Support Technician Apprentice, HSS Hire

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Advanced apprenticeships

Once you’ve nailed your intermediate apprenticeship, you’ll have the keys to a whole new world. The advanced apprenticeship world. Advanced apprenticeships allow you to further your training and widen your skill set in your chosen sector.

Qualification: Level 3

Duration: 18 months +

Entry requirements: Five GCSEs at grades 9 - 4 (A* - C) - in Maths, English and IT.

Advanced apprentices can work as digital support technicians. There are two pathways to this - a digital applications technician and a digital service technician.

Let’s break these down…

Digital applications technicians work internally within an organisation. They fix laptops and computers and ensure that everything is running smoothly tech wise. 

Digital service technicians do the opposite. Their job is to support external customers and clients through different channels by making sure their websites and computer networks are working correctly, for example.


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Higher cyber security apprenticeships

The moment of truth has come, folks. You’ve smashed your intermediate and advanced apprenticeship and hiked your way to the top of snowy Mount Everest. 

Now what? You’re ready for your higher apprenticeship in cyber security - congrats!

There are lots of areas to explore here. You could become an ethical hacker and use techniques like cyber-attack simulations to protect security systems - meaning you’ll think like a real-life hacker and create solutions to stop the bad guys in their tracks.

Or - if you’re an IT security whizz, consultancy would be perfect for you.

As a cyber security consultant, you’ll be involved in different aspects of the business, from assessing security measures and suggesting improvements to helping design bespoke security solutions for clients.

Qualification: Level 4

Duration: 2 - 4 years

Entry requirements: Two A-Levels at grades 9 - 4 (A* - C) - in Maths, English and IT.

"“I receive lots of support from my employer. I have multiple levels of management to speak to about my problems, whether work-related or not. The company has a strong stance on supporting employees and is very inclusive. I have a placement manager who can help with work-related issues, a line manager who helps with organisation and pastoral care, and a programme manager who supports us with development and training.” " Cyber Security Apprentice, National Grid

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Want to find out more about what it’s really like to do an IT apprenticeship? Have a read of over 40,000 student-written reviews.

Browse IT apprenticeship reviews

Degree cyber security apprenticeships

Torn between university and work? Why not have both? Degree apprenticeships allow you to have a real job with a real wage, attend university and study for a degree. All at once. 

Get this - once you’ve finished your programme, you’ll be so experienced and ahead of the game that employers will be queuing from here to Australia to snap you up. 

Qualification: Level 6

Duration: 4+ years

Entry requirements: Three A-Levels at grades 9 - 4 (A* - C) - in Maths, English and IT.

Ever wondered what Intelligence reporting is all about? Read what this degree apprentice had to say about it during their cyber security apprenticeship at BT.

"“On a day to day basis my role includes researching the latest industry threats faced by organisations, compiling the latest available data on them and disseminating them to our internal and external customers. I also lead on a customer and ensure they receive bespoke Intelligence reporting, as well as engage in regular meetings to help the business improve and provide better services.”" Cyber Security Degree Apprentice, BT

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What does a cyber security apprentice do? 

As a cyber security apprentice, you’ll be monitoring laptops and computers and looking out for cyber threats to make sure no-one hacks into company systems. You’ll get stuck in, work across multiple departments and pick up a range of skills along the way, including software.

Throughout your programme, you’ll work alongside experienced colleagues, implementing security tools and reporting and analysing metrics. Once you’ve finished, you’ll have a good understanding of each department and can then decide which one you want to specialise in. 

Fancy working for the Civil Service and safeguarding government data? Apply for one of their cyber security apprenticeships and get yourself trained to serve on the front line.

Each day the government receives thousands of threats from people trying to thwart its security. As a cyber security apprentice, you’ll play a huge role in protecting the UK and its citizens.

Your responsibilities include:

  • Identifying security risks

  • Responding to security threats

  • Performing cryptography and encryption

  • Carrying out digital forensics.

Find out what a day in the life of a degree apprentice at Fujitsu is like.

How do I start a career in cyber security?

There’s no set way of breaking into a career in cyber security, However, you’ll need to know about networking, operating systems and cloud security to truly progress in this industry. 

If you want to become a cyber security specialist and reach the top of your game, make sure you have a firm grip on terms like:

  • Virtual private networks (VPN)

  • Intrusion detection systems / Intrusion prevention systems

  • Routing Protocols

  • Encryption Techniques

  • Firewalls

  • Web proxy

  • Java

  • Python

  • HTML 

  • PHP

Cyber security apprenticeships teach you about malware like Trojans and SQL Injections and how they enter our networks. That’s only half the battle. 

The other half is knowing how to get rid of those pesky little beasts. So the more you know about all the different operating systems, the more equipped you’ll be when dealing with cyber threats or attacks.

Best Student Employers

Finding a job is tough. After all, you want a career that’s right for you. So if you haven’t found your dream role yet, don’t panic. It’s on its way. 

Luckily, our Best Student Employers table has your back. Here you’ll find the best companies to work for, based on thousands of honest reviews written by students just like you.

Want a company with amazing mental health, diversity and sustainability initiatives? Or one that offers an amazing path for progression? Check it out. 

To give you a head start, have a look at these top businesses with roles available in cyber security:

How much does a cyber security apprentice earn?

Apprenticeships are amazing for so many reasons. One of those being the pay. As an apprentice, you’re literally getting paid to learn new skills. Have a mentor and receive training and guidance. Quite the treat - and quite the package too!


Your salary depends on your employer and apprenticeship level. If you’re an intermediate level apprentice working as an IT support technician, you’ll earn between £17,000 - £21,000 a year.

Once you’ve moved up the ranks and become a cyber security degree apprentice (aka a pro), expect to be pocketing around £27,500 a year. That’s huge! 

National Minimum Wage

In any case, you’ll still receive the National Minimum Wage - which is the minimum hourly rate that all employees get. Some employers will pay you more, especially if your apprenticeship is based in London. 

Cyber security is on the rise, with the industry set to grow by 18% in the next five years. So if you’re looking for a role that excites you, challenges you, pays you (well) and provides you with flexible work options - don’t miss out!

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