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Blackburn College Recognised with National Gold Cyber Security Accreditation

Date posted: 12th February 2024

Blackburn College has achieved Gold Award level status in the CyberFirst Schools Recognition Scheme, following an assessment by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). 

The College – which recently unveiled its £1.5 million investment into cyber, computer science, digital and health teaching facilities – has been formally recognised for its commitment to providing a structured approach to excellence in cyber security education. 

The award reinforces the College’s dedication to providing its students with the in-demand skills, experience and industry exposure they need to progress into successful careers in digital and cyber security, as well as recognising its engagement with schools in the area to encourage young people to explore futures in this fast-growing field. 

Blackburn College has been working with IN4 Group, an award-winning digital skills and innovation provider and the North West delivery partner for CyberFirst Schools and Colleges, since March 2023. This has involved a series of educational development projects, training opportunities for Computer Science lecturers, and engagement projects with local employers. 

IN4 has developed an education blueprint that will see the establishment of CyberFirst Gold Hubs in all 24 local authorities in the North West, with Blackburn College and Blackburn as the first in the region. The aim is to give every single young person access to world-class technology skills and employment.

The College has delivered a number of skills-focused events. This includes inviting 80 year 12 students to take part in a cyber skills day, held in partnership with the National Cyber Force, to enable them to experience and learn more about the careers and opportunities available on their doorstep in digital and cyber, and hosting a skills conference with key employers, including Northrop Grumman, KPMG UK and IBM.

Blackburn College is also one of four colleges nationally to be a test bed for the National Cyber Force bursary designed to increase the number of school leavers studying science, technology, engineering and maths.

The College has ambitious plans to continue to develop and invest in digital and cyber-related skills.

Principal and Chief Executive of Blackburn College, Dr Fazal Dad, said: “With ever-increasing digitalisation, as well as potential cyber threats to national security, developing a strong and adaptable workforce with cyber and digital skills is absolutely essential and a sector in which careers are in high demand. 

 “We’re well-placed in the region to enable our students to meet the growing demand for cyber careers and be ready to take on the opportunities that will come with the National Cyber Force’s new location just a few miles from our campus. Also, the College continues to support employers and businesses with cyber security awareness and solutions.

 “Our Gold status is a tremendous start to 2024. We are proud to have joined this network of excellent schools and colleges, offering our students the best learning and industry opportunities to pursue rewarding careers. This achievement further supports and enhances the portfolio of the Blackburn Learning Quarter.” 

Mo Issap, CEO of IN4 Group, added: “I feel privileged to be able to bring tech skills and career opportunities to my hometown of Blackburn and the people living here. It's not just about business, but it's also about giving back to the community that has given me so much. I'm proud to be a part of Blackburn's growth story and to help shape its future.”

To find out more about studying with Blackburn College, please visit: 



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