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Apr 5, 2017

One of our Slackers (people who hang with us on our Slack Channel) mentioned that he was writing exam materials for one of the programs created by the UK Government to train high school and/or people headed to university in skills without the traditional 4 year education track.

I was very intrigued by this, since we don't appear to have anything like this, outside of interning at a company, which means you're not considered a full-time employee, have no benefits, and there's no oversight about what you are learning. (Your mileage may vary)

So we asked Liam Graves (@tunnytraffic) to come on and discuss his experience, and how he was enjoying it. We discuss various methods of alternative educations here and in the UK, as well as why someone should possibly consider an apprenticeship. We also discuss how that would work in the US (or could it?)

Also, I very sorry Ireland ... :) I did not mean to lump you in the rest of the Commonwealth...

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Show Notes:

UK apprenticeship schemes:

long established though a recent focus shift back from academic achievement to hands-on skills and understanding/applying more than just remembering.

End Point Assessment - project based final assessment.


A mix of targeted learning and on-the-job experience working towards a brief:


Boring - but some background reading. Apprentices at this level will use levels 1-3 of Bloom’s taxonomy ('s_taxonomy) 1) Remembering (What type questions). 2) Understanding (Which of these/Why type questions) 3) Applying (It this then what scenarios and questions)


Other schemes include (new and existing):

  • Cyber Intrusion Analysts
  • Cyber Security Technologists
  • Data Analysts
  • Digital Marketers
  • Infrastructure Technicians
  • IT Technical Salesperson
  • Network Engineers
  • Software Developers
  • Software Development Technicians
  • Software Testers
  • Unified Communications Trouble-shooters (no idea what these ones are)
  • Unified Communications Technicians (links for Scotland & Wales on the same page). - employers drive the training for the type of employees they need.


Routes to employment - fast paced industry so 1) older pathways may not be relevant. 2) there are so many ways in to the industry pick the right one for you - there’s a difference between people who appreciate structured learning, are autodidactic, learn extra and over what’s expected, dev, risk, red/blue team, academic, hands-on, etc.


Internships (rarer, though some degrees offer a year in industry and will assist in making positions available)


Graduate schemes - very common, will give a grad opportunities to move around the business. Direct hires from uni.


IBM has a trade school - hiring 2,000 US Veterans in the next 5 years


Technical schools


DoL apprenticeship programs


Difference between ‘for-profit’ and ‘trade schools’


Internships = some companies are paying fat bank:


Washington State trades/apprenticeships

Mostly ‘blue’ collar positions

Few ‘technical positions’


Not sure there is an ‘apprenticeship’ in the US, outside of ‘internships’ that are given to college students

No ‘junior security architects’, or ‘junior pentesters’

Yet non-technical positions have junior slots

Manager / Senior manager, Project manager / Sr. Project manager


Difficulty in infosec apprenticeships

What are the ‘starter’ jobs?

IT related


Log analyst


Useful links:


All available apprenticeships:


Employer commitments:


For people looking to pivot from non-Infosec jobs into cyber security: