During World War Two, Bletchley Park was the main site where the UK’s code-breakers attempted to decipher the secret communications of the Axis Powers and where famed cryptanalyst Alan Turing helped break German ciphers.
The Buckinghamshire mansion has since become a museum and popular tourist attraction, but there are now plans to turn it into a sixth form college specializing in cyber security.
The National College of Cyber Security, scheduled to open in autumn 2018, will train youths aged 16-19, as it has become increasingly vital to strengthen the country’s talent pool in cyber defense due to the widespread and frequent use of the internet.
Cybersecurity school plan for Bletchley Park https://t.co/Tuxc35Auae
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) November 24, 2016
A spokesperson for British intelligence and security agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) told the BBC: “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 college will take up one block on the premises, which will be renovated to accommodate up to 500 students at a time.
Students will be selected based only on talent and skill, particularly in problem-solving and logic, and will not have to pay any tuition fee.
Over three years, students will be taught cybersecurity-related subjects, which will take up about 40 percent of the curriculum. Other subjects will include maths, physics, and computer science.
School for teenage codebreakers to open in Bletchley Park https://t.co/geM7b54EXA
— The Guardian (@guardian) November 24, 2016
The college is being developed by not-for-profit group Qufaro, comprising organisations such as Cyber Security Challenge UK, the National Museum of Computing, and BT Security.
Chair of Qufaro, Alastair MacWilson, who is also from the Institute of Information Security Professionals, said that the UK’s cyber-education was currently “disconnected and incomplete, putting us at risk of losing a whole generation of critical talent”.
“The cyber threat is the real threat facing the UK, and the problem it’s causing the UK government and companies is growing exponentially,” he said, as quoted by the Guardian.
MacWilson also said that Europe was currently facing a shortage of about 700,000 cybersecurity experts, with companies struggling to get the right people, adding that the cyber security college would help provide a more “unified” approach in filling the gaps when it comes to training budding professionals.
There are also plans for the college to offer online short courses for those interested in building up their cyber security skills.
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