Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park. Image: Gordon Bell/Shutterstock

Bletchley Park will be home to codebreakers again in 2018

24 Nov 2016

Having been saved from the brink of demolition, Bletchley Park is to be a codebreaker hub once again, as a cybersecurity group announces its plans to open a new centre there in 2018.

During the height of WWII, Bletchley Park in the UK was a key centre of operations as the home of the Allied side’s top codebreakers, who famously solved the Nazi Enigma code that turned the tide of the war in their favour.

Yet nearly 70 years after the war, ownership of the site had changed hands on a number of occasions, and interest in saving the building had waned to the point that it was facing demolition.

But in 2008, Techmums founder and Inspirefest speaker Dr Sue Black began a campaign to save Bletchley Park that quickly gathered pace, following a tweet from Stephen Fry a year later. As a result, the building was ultimately saved in 2011.

Teaching new generation of codebreakers

Five years later, this act has really paid off as the UK’s first National College of Cyber Security –to be called Qufaro – has announced it will move into Bletchley Park in September 2018.

According to Wired, the not-for-profit organisation hopes to train a new generation of codebreakers aged 16 to 19 in the skills of cybersecurity, operating as a boarding school.

Teenagers of all backgrounds will be considered for Qufaro and it will be free to attend. A syllabus will be drawn from the experience of experts in not only cybersecurity, but also computer science, physics and maths.

One of the people instrumental in this decision is Margaret Sale, one of the founding members of the Bletchley Park Trust helped preserve the site, who is also a non-executive director of Qufaro.

Online courses also offered

While Qufaro is seeking support from the UK Department of Education to help staff the facility, it has also announced a series of partnerships with cybersecurity groups including BT Security and Cyber Security Challenge UK.

“You can come from any background, it is going to be free to attend. All that we are interested in is your cybersecurity skill,” said Stephanie Daman, executive director of Cyber Security Challenge UK.

“One of our targets is to get a much fairer reflection of a much more diverse population.”

Even those who might not be able to go to Bletchley Park can still avail of courses online. There are plans to offer places for 300 people, particularly teachers looking to learn about cybersecurity skills to pass on to their students.

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Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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