A new organisation created by senior figures in cyber security has chosen Bletchley Park to house some of the UK’s most important new cyber security learning and innovation projects.
Bletchley Park will become home to the UK’s first National College of Cyber Security. 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 plans were announced today (Thursday) by QUFARO, a new not-for-profit body of senior figures from Cyber Security Challenge UK; The National Museum of Computing; the Institute of Information Security Professionals; BT Security, and Raytheon.
It is working to educate the cyber workforce necessary to protect British citizens and organisations against the increasing threat of cyber-attack.
Alastair MacWilson, chair of QUFARO and the Institute of Information Security Professionals, said: “Our cyber education and innovation landscape is complex, disconnected and incomplete putting us at risk of losing a whole generation of critical talent.
“For those interested in forging a career in cyber, the current pathway is filled with excellent but disparate initiatives – each playing a vital role without offering a truly unified ecosystem of learning and support.
“By connecting what already exists and filling the gaps, QUFARO will make it easier for budding professionals to grow their cyber security skills at every stage of their journey and contribute more to the sector as a result.”
G-Block, one of the largest buildings on the Bletchley Park site, will house the National College. A £5 million restoration project is already under way to 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 for organisations across the country.
Margaret Sale, QUFARO non-executive director and founding member of both the Bletchley Park Trust and The National Museum of Computing, said: “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.
“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.
As part of its remit, 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.
QUFARO will also develop a series of new cyber security courses covering a range of learning opportunities that do not exist in the UK today.
These include teacher awareness and training programmes, and new virtual courses in the fundamentals of cyber security for those seeking a career change. The first of these new courses is already live.
The Extended Project Qualification in cyber security is the UK’s first cyber qualification available for school pupils and independent learners wishing to study cyber between GCSE and university degree/vocational level.
It has been funded and developed by QUFARO in collaboration with the Cyber Security Challenge UK, is backed by City and Guilds and opened for enrolment in September. The course is already oversubscribed.
QUFARO will also launch a £50 million cyber innovation investment fund next year. The fund will support entrepreneurs and seek to stimulate the growth of innovative new information security businesses, growing technological excellence, sovereign capabilities and the contribution the cyber security industry makes to our national GDP.
Those keen to register their interest in any of the QUFARO programmes can visit the organisation’s website to receive regular progress updates and information about opportunities to engage with the QUFARO team.