IN a move that highlights the importance of IT security to national security, the £50m National College of Cyber Security will open at Bletchley Park by 2018, in order to nurture Britain’s brightest cyber security talent.
The plans were announced by QUFARO – a new not-for-profit body created by leading experts working in cyber security including senior figures from Cyber Security Challenge UK; The National Museum of Computing; the Institute of Information Security Professionals; BT Security, and Raytheon. QUFARO’s remit is to protect British citizens and organisations against the increasing threat of cyber-attack.
Britain already has successful programmes designed to identify and nurture upcoming cyber talent but they are often disconnected and gaps make it hard for rising cyber stars to chart an unbroken learning pathway from early-stage interest to qualification, employment and professional development. QUFARO is designed to plug these gaps and act as a gateway both to existing options and new education and innovation opportunities, providing budding cyber defenders with a single point of access.
At the heart of QUFARO’s strategy is the creation of the UK’s first National College of Cyber Security. Based at the historic Bletchley Park site, students will be able to study in the very place where codebreakers famously cracked Nazi codes to aid British war efforts. Operational by 2018, the College will be a free-to-attend boarding school that will teach cyber skills to the UK’s most gifted 16-19-year-old prodigies, challenging and developing them into the top flight cyber security professionals of tomorrow. The College will select only the most talented and skilled students to attend. It will draw its syllabus from the individuals working at the forefront of the cyber security industry in the UK, and integrate this with modules in complementary subjects such as maths, computer science, and physics.
“Having been involved with the Bletchley Park site for more than 25 years I believe that QUFARO represents a truly unique opportunity to reactivate this environment as a major active contributor to our national security,” said Margaret Sale, QUFARO non-executive director and founding member of both the Bletchley Park Trust and The National Museum of Computing.
“Through initiatives such as the National College and the Cyber Investment Fund we can effectively combine the principles of heritage, education and innovation for which everything on this site stands. Previous generations are deeply proud of their contributions at Bletchley Park. I am keen to see what the next cadre will achieve.”
G-Block, one of the largest buildings on the Bletchley Park site, will house the National College. A £5m restoration project is already underway to sympathetically convert it into a pioneering security technology centre boasting some of the most advanced cyber test and demonstration facilities in the world. By doing so, QUFARO will create a centrepiece of national cyber learning and a technical showcase in an iconic setting where organisations from across the country will be able to host events; train staff; and engage the wider public in the cyber agenda. ♦