PDA Cyber Resilience SCQF levels 7, 8 and 9

PDA Cyber Resilience SCQF levels 7, 8 and 9

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA qualifications in Cyber Resilience aim to provide foundation knowledge and skills in cyber security to increase awareness and develop deeper knowledge and appropriate skills of the discipline. These qualifications also raise awareness of the societal aspects of cyber security.

The principal aim of the qualifications is to introduce cyber security to learners already employed across the wider workforce, to encourage interest in this emerging discipline as a potential future career and to improve cyber security knowledge for all learners irrespective of their vocational goals.

They are suitable for all learners who wish to develop their cyber security awareness in support of their contribution to strengthening the cyber resilience of their employer organisation.

The qualifications are available through colleges, training providers and some employers. They have been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of workshops and self-directed study.

Why deliver this qualification

These PDAs in Cyber Resilience at SCQF levels 7, 8 and 9 have been developed in partnership with employers and industry to ensure they are suitable for the current sector.

These qualifications are part of a suite of awards in Cyber Security/Resilience, spanning SCQF levels 4 to 9, which were developed in response to a national (and international) focus on cyber security. The development of these awards was part of the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Strategy, Public Sector Action Plan, which was published in November 2017. The development of these qualifications was part-funded by the Scottish Government.

These qualifications provide a complementary route to learning aimed at people who are at non-cyber security professional roles in the existing workforce with a desire to develop awareness and knowledge of cyber resilience practices.

They will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff, while learners will gain knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

They can also be offered to people who are in training and who wish to gain employment in the sector.

The unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

The PDAs provide progression routes to further study (see Progression).

Who does this qualification suit

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skill set. The qualifications are suitable for all learners who wish to develop their cyber security awareness in support of their contribution to strengthening the cyber resilience of their employer organisation.

The qualifications are intended for learners who typically work in a wide range of roles not directly related to cyber security, but where cyber resilience is becoming an increasingly important factor to their roles. It aims to attract four types of learners who are expected to enter through one of the following routes:

  1. Direct entry from employment: learners will typically seek to develop their awareness and understanding of cyber resilience in the context of their own employment.
  2. Direct entry from employment: learners will typically seek to develop their awareness and understanding in order to support a career change into a more cyber security focused role with their own employer or another employer.
  3. Direct entry from unemployment: learners will typically seek to develop their awareness and understanding in order to pursue a career in a cyber security related role with an employer.
  4. Direct entry from university: learners will typically be new graduate hires who may lack a foundational understanding of applied cyber security.

Access

Entry is at the discretion of the centre. The PDA qualification at SCQF level 7 will be suitable for leaners with no previous background in cyber security, who are seeking to develop a robust foundational awareness. The SCQF level 8 qualification will be suitable for learners with some previous knowledge of cyber security or those progressing from the SCQF level 7 PDA in Cyber Resilience. The PDA qualification at SCQF level 9 will be suitable for learners with a graduate-level qualification in a STEM area who wish to develop cyber security specialisations.

It is desirable for learners to possess awareness of information systems and basic computer networks before attempting this award (at any level). This may be evidenced by possession of one or more of the following qualifications:

  • Core Skills in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Numeracy at an appropriate level
  • National Units in Computing or Mathematics or a related subject area
  • National Progression Award in a range of subjects at SCQF level 4, 5 or 6
  • National 4/5 in Computing Science
  • National 4/5 in Mathematics

Progression

The qualifications are available at three levels in a hierarchical structure and learners may progress to the next level if they wish to continue their studies.

Learners may progress to further cyber security specific learning and training, education or employment. The qualifications should permit learners to progress to a range of pathways in cyber security (or related subjects). Learners completing the SCQF level 9 could consider specialising in cyber security related employment as entry-level cyber security analysts. Those completing lower levels are likely to require further training before being ready to enter cyber security related employment.

Approval

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority must come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

PDA Cyber Resilience SCQF level 7

Group Award code: GR3R 47 (32 SCQF credit points, consisting of 4 mandatory units)

PDA Cyber Resilience SCQF level 8

Group Award code: GR3T 48 (32 SCQF credit points, consisting 3 mandatory units and 1 optional unit)

PDA Cyber Resilience SCQF level 9

Group Award code: GR3V 49 (32 SCQF credit points, consisting 3 mandatory units)

Group Award Specification