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What is an Experience Centred Project (ECP)?


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How ECPs work!

What is an Employability Centred Project (ECP)?

ECPs are “real-world,” live project activities that are typically designed and designated by practitioners from Government, Industry and Academia.

What is the motivation for developing the ECP concept?

The notion of Employability Centred Projects (ECPs) was inspired by hearing the first-hand testimony of many students who have struggled to find opportunities for gaining work-based skills and experience. In February 2020 CISSE UK hosted the Shaping the Future of Experience Workshop where the conceptual foundations of ECPs was established. This was followed by further work in February 2021, when CISSE UK hosted a student consultation event to hear about work experience, internship, and placement experiences, directly from students across the UK. Many students described the following experiences:

  • Feeling uninformed, unaware, lost, no direction and/or inexperienced

  • Feeling anxious or unsure about their career options post-university.

  • Having very limited success in securing a placement, internship, or work experience opportunity.

  • Finding job descriptions confusing.

  • Finding job hunting overwhelming.

What do ECPs aim to deliver?

ECPs aim to provide students with opportunities to:

  • undertake and deliver live project activities that meet real client requirements.

  • acquire technical, applied, and practical skills.

  • enhance soft skills and professional competencies.

  • develop experience narratives that can be used in interviews, as part of a personal profile, for social media posts and in CVs.

  • create an evidence base of personal milestones and achievements.

  • have ECP experiences validated and publicly endorsed upon successful completion.

What is the typical workflow of an ECP?
  • CISSE UK elicit ECP concepts based on suggestions and requirements defined by Government, Industry and Academia.

  • Selected ECPs are designed, specified, refined and hosted.

  • ECP opportunities are published on the CISSE UK website and promoted via the cyber education community.

  • Students apply and interview to take part in ECP project activities.

  • Successful applicants complete an onboarding process and are given access to a dedicated ECP project space.

  • Students work on ECP activities in accordance with agreed targets, expected outcomes and within a specified timeframe.

  • CISSE UK create an evaluation of the student's performance at the end of the ECP, based on observations throughout the ECP.

  • An end of ECP debrief meeting is held to share experiences and opportunities for improvement.

  • Students who complete successful ECPs receive public validation from CISSE UK as client. For example, this may take the form of:

    • A LinkedIn endorsement.​

    • Inclusion as a listed contributor on a public facing web page.

What sort of things will I have to do if I am accepted to join an ECP?

Examples of ECP activities include:

  • Researching, designing, investigating, building, deploying, analysing and maintaining technologies and/or resources.

  • Attending periodic meetings and technical sessions (agreed during onboarding).

  • Attending and/or presenting at ECP "Show and Tell" events.

Will this impact my university studies?

ECPs aim to be complimentary to students who are studying coding, computer science, cyber security, data analytics, software engineering or web development subjects. Therefore, it may be possible to align an ECP with a particular module that is being studied (e.g., a Final Year Project where an ECP can be considered to be an external client).

ECPs can also be undertaken during non-term times. For example, as summer projects.

Are ECPs paid?

ECPs are not paid. They are designed to be complimentary to internships or placements. ECPs may be a good option for those who want to enhance their real-world experience within a short timeframe but are unable to secure a subject-relevant placement or internship.

How long do ECPs run for?

The typical duration of an ECP is between 2 and 6 weeks.

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