TECH

Bletchley Park Will Soon Be Home To The Next Generation Of Britain's Codebreakers

The historic site will be transformed into a specialist sixth form college.

24/11/2016 14:56 | Updated 26 November 2016

Bletchley Park, once home to the team that cracked Enigma, is set to reopen its doors as a sixth form college for the next generation of code-breakers. 

Over the next two years, the historic site will be transformed into the National College of Cybersecurity under plans to tackle a growing cyber-skills shortage.

Cybercrime has rapidly become one of the biggest threats to national security, with the intelligence agency GCHQ opening a cyber security centre last month.

But businesses are struggling to recruit employees equipped with the skills to combat the developing threat. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A spokesperson for GCHQ told the BBC it welcomed initiatives which develop cybersecurity skills:

“The concept of a sixth-form college is interesting, especially if it can provide a pathway for talented students from schools that are not able to provide the support they need.”

The project has been driven by a group of cybersecurity experts from Cyber Security Challenge UK, The National Museum of Computing and BT Security who want to provide a free education to “talented and gifted” pupils.

Alastair MacWillson, chair of Quafaro, the not-for-profit behind the college, told the Guardian: “The cyber threat is the real threat facing the UK, and the problem it’s causing the UK government and companies is growing exponentially.

“There is a shortfall in terms of the professional resources to combat this right now and it will get so much worse unless there is a programme to get to grips with it.”

Darren Staples / Reuters

Opening in 2018, the boarding school will provide cybersecurity (40 per cent), maths, physics and computer science tuition over three years.

The Guardian reported that Quafaro is discussing state funding with the Department for Education, but will rely on corporate sponsorship and its own fundraising activities as a back up.

The college will be housed in the G-Block of Bletchley Park following a £5m restoration. 

During World War Two, the site hosted the team of code-breakers, including Alan Turing, who famously cracked the German Enigma code.

After the war ended, some members of the team went on to work for the newly created GCHQ, now one of the UK’s key security agencies.

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