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CyberFirst is a pivotal part of the UK government’s National Cyber Security Programme. It covers a broad range of activities; a comprehensive bursary scheme, a girls only competition and development courses at UK universities and colleges. Each activity is designed to give talented young people the support, skills, experience and exposure they need to become cyberists of the future.

What are Cyberists?

Cyberists are intrigued by unexplored technology. Dedicated to fulfilling a bigger role in society. Keen to protect friends, families, communities and commerce. Determined to make an impact. Eager to learn and never let up. They are our new generation of cyber security experts. As technology enhances more and more of our daily life, cyberists will be the ones who’ll safeguard it from all manner of threats. Cyber security roles are constantly evolving, consistently challenging and crammed with potential. They could be anybody – and they could come from anywhere. To help find them, support them and train them, we’ve created CyberFirst.

  • CyberFirst Bursary

    CyberFirst is a Student scheme inspired and led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which aims to support and prepare undergraduates for a career in cyber security. NCSC partners with other government departments and selected industry to offer students a comprehensive package of financial assistance and cyber skills training to help you kick start a career in cyber security.

    It covers three stages of your career:

    1. University: during the years you study at university, you will receive an annual bursary of £4,000 per year, tax-free.

    2. Each summer: we’ll find you paid employment during the holidays, or bespoke training within government or industry, for which you’ll be paid £250 per week.

    3. After graduation: we aim to place you in a three-year graduate-level cyber security role within government or industry.

    All we require is for you to be a UK national, have (or be expecting to have by September 2018) an offer to study, or be in your first year of studying a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) degree at a UK university and have 3 A-levels at Grade B or above (or equivalent qualifications) in any subject.

    To find out more about the CyberFirst Bursary please click here.

  • CyberFirst Apprenticeship

    The CyberFirst Degree Level Apprenticeship in Cyber Security is a three year apprenticeship where you’ll get exposure to some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies along with practical insights into the innovative ways we use them to provide cyber security to our customers. Successful applicants will be offered the opportunity to earn while you learn, with a salary and all the benefits that you would expect from a Civil Service organisation. All whilst gaining a recognised degree. You will also be able to build your experience and confidence in the workplace. Over the three-year programme, you’ll get a mix of university-delivered classroom and lab education in state-of-the-art facilities along with technical training, mentoring and job shadowing, and hands-on, work-based placements and projects. Then, after successful completion of the three-year Degree Level Apprenticeship and subject to business needs and meeting the necessary criteria, you may be offered full-time employment.

    All we require is for you to be a UK national, have (or be expecting to have by September 2018), 3 A Levels in any subject at grade C or above (or equivalent) and have a minimum of 2 IGCSE/GCSE STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) subjects at grade B or above including IGCSE/GCSE in maths.

    To find out more about this CyberFirst Apprenticeship please click here.

  • CyberFirst Adventurers

    A free one-day development course aimed at those who have not yet made their GCSE choices (12-14) and their parents, teachers and guardians.

    Complex jargon and terminology can be enough to put anyone off. Not for much longer: our CyberFirst Adventurers events are designed to de-mystify computing, privacy and our everyday use of technology. An ideal experience for anyone who might require some encouragement to study computer science at GCSE.

    For full details, see

  • CyberFirst Defenders

    A free four-day residential and non-residential course aimed at 14 to 15 year-olds.

    This is a valuable introduction to all the tools, knowledge and skills cyberists need to build and protect small networks and personal devices. It complements the GCSE computer science curriculum and takes it a step further, offering practical methods to help protect and secure everyday devices, apps and software.

    For full details, see

  • CyberFirst Futures

    A free five-day residential and non-residential course aimed at 15 to 16 year-olds.

    This is for anyone who is looking to study computer science at AS/A Levels, or equivalents (or beyond) and wants to enhance their cyber skills even further. Students on the course explore advanced cyber security threats to devices, apps and software, and investigate different methods of protecting them.

    For full details, see

  • CyberFirst Advanced

    A free five-day residential and non-residential course aimed at 16 to 17 year-olds.

    This is designed to expand the knowledge of anyone studying computer science (this time, at AS/A Levels or equivalents), or any student who has a real interest in and aptitude for computers. On this course, students set about securing interconnected networks and learning how to probe for vulnerabilities. It’s challenging work, but there’s always an expert on hand to teach students fresh skills and techniques

    For full details, see

  • CyberFirst Girls Competition

    Many young women rule themselves out of a career in cyber security – and that means we’re missing out on an extraordinarily talented group of people. We want to change that.

    GCHQ is offering school girls aged between 13 and 15 a unique opportunity to tackle a fun and challenging competition. We’re inviting teams of four girls to work their way through a series of online cyber challenges, each designed to test their ingenuity to the limit.

    Tricky? That’s the idea. Along the way, however, we will offer many hints and tips to help teams progress through the competition. We’ll also provide the all-important ‘Teachers’ Guide’ to help teachers mentor their teams.

    The top ten teams will be invited to attend a Grand Final and prize-giving.

    For full details about how to enter, competition rules and dates, see

From gaming to game-changing

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"I've always had an independent streak - which is encouraged here."

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Linguist. Learner. Leader.

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Departments and Roles at GCHQ