Immersive Labs offers cyber security course to disappointed A-level students

Arranged in online 'labs' the course offers an alternative to "passive classrooms"

Bored students

Immersive Labs is opening its cyber skills development platform to students that miss out on their first choice of university.

The course will be a free, hands-on programme available to A-level students that might have been disappointed by not getting into their university of choice, yet still wish to pursue a cyber security-based career or next stages in education. 

The course will consist of 'labs', which Immersive Labs describes as "a cyber security story", which runs in a browser and will give participants the chance to tackle entry-level cyber security challenges thereby setting them up to begin pursuing a future in the cyber security industry. 

This approach could also be more beneficial, according to the CEO of Immersive Labs, as traditional educational paths are "broken" with "passive" classroom environments.

James Hadley said that although it works for some, classrooms are not always the best environment for learning.

"The world is crying out for cyber security talent, yet the majority of ways we are trying to train these people are broken," he says. "While university can be a valuable path for some, its rigid conditions can also be exclusive.

"Not everyone wants to sit in a classroom learning passively. My experience at GCHQ taught me the best cyber talent is creative and curious; they learn by breaking things and thinking on their feet. Unfortunately, this jars with traditional teaching methods, which I fear is leading to an unnecessary talent drain. We have opened up our platform to give these individuals an opportunity to learn."

The organisation said the initiative was a reflection of the company's belief that "legacy" ways of training cyber talent, such sitting in classrooms, are obsolete compared to the ever-changing threat landscape. Static measurements of skills, such as certification and periodic training, are unable to keep pace as the best cyber talent learns by being hands-on.

Labs are designed by a team made up of specialists with experience working for intelligence agencies in law enforcement and inside large companies.

For those that can prove they haven't got into their first choice of university, Immersive Labs have a sign-up form on its website which will be available for a week after clearing day.

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