A digital technology firm has invested in an apprenticeship programme as cybercrime in the UK increased drastically.

Burnley-based company, +24 Academy, is set for a nationwide roll out of an innovative new training module aimed at the next generation of cybersecurity experts who will help keep the UK a safe place to live and work online without having to go to university.

Following the successful launch of its digital marketing Level 3 apprenticeships to training providers in the further education sector, including Blackburn College, +24 Academy is now set to expand their training offering.

In a response to calls for cybersecurity skills to be offered as apprenticeships after the number of cybercrime victims in the UK increased by 40 per cent since 2020, the academy is “delighted to be launching this additional training module at such an important time in the world of cyber.”

+24 Academy founder, Dave Walker, said: “A career in cybersecurity can be exciting and rewarding.

"The way a person gets that first step onto the ladder in this field is changing.

“No longer is gaining a degree in cyber the only option. What if you do not want to go to university? 

“Working your way up through enhanced skillsets in coding, software development, that type of thing is another way. But it takes time.

"Our cybersecurity training module is an accessible solution to starting a career in this fast paced environment.

“We know from the success of our Level 3 digital marketing apprenticeship training module that there is a need to offer digitally delivered courses around cybersecurity.

“It is the fastest growing area of tech, yet there is a digital skills shortage in this field with very few cybersecurity apprenticeships currently on offer in the UK."

The +24 Academy pilot cybersecurity training module has been tested and well received by education sector professionals, after a further £100,000 plus investment by the Burnley based business into expanding its training module across the UK.

In its 2022 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, the government body with statutory responsibility for the UK Intelligence Community, found that 3.4 million more skilled cybersecurity professionals are currently needed globally.

“Cybersecurity training should be open to all,” says Dave. “It is not enough to have knowledge of protocols like Malware and Firewall configurations.

!Individuals need to have good analytical skills, a broad understanding of networks and much more including a strong team work ethic.

“As a result of our agility as experts in digital, working on client projects day in day out, apprentices at Blackburn College are already bolstering their knowledge with access to the +24 Academy digital skills programme, designed by our in-house team of industry professionals based at our headquarters in Burnley.”

The +24 Academy team is continuing to work closely with cybersecurity experts in developing the apprenticeship module.

Dave added: “The key issue is real-world application vs academia. The principles may evolve slowly but the practice is changing daily.

"Education providers simply can’t keep up. Digital industries have to innovate in order to survive and thrive. 

“When it comes to topics like cybersecurity, the issue is way more important. The UK had the highest number of cybercrime victims per million internet users at 4,783 in 2022 – up 40 per cent over 2020 figures.

“The concept that education is the realm of the academics alone has gone. Vocational learning as created and delivered by +24 Academy, needs to be what it says on the tin: vocational. This must mean that it works like industry does and is much more flexible.”

For students at Blackburn College already knee deep in their digital marketing apprenticeship, the model of vocational training delivered by tech industry experts is the future.

Nicola Clayton, director of Business Development at Blackburn College said: “The new Digital Marketing Apprenticeship in partnership with +24 Academy, is a fantastic industry designed offering unlike anything else currently available.

“It marks a step change in our approach to delivering the apprenticeship, with a fully blended model of delivery, providing our apprentices with access to monthly masterclasses delivered by a range of industry experts.”