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GCHQ kicks off hunt for UK codebreakers at Bletchley Park

Three good A-levels or NVQ in spying all that's needed
Fri Oct 19 2012, 09:30

UK FOREIGN SECRETARY William Hague has offered an invitation to young people, asking them to put down their Xbox controllers and consider a career in computer sciences.

Hague made the appeal during a visit to Bletchley Park, the UK home of code-breaking, and while there detailed what is being called an apprentice scheme for young, quick thinking, code-breaking, console playing layabouts. He also announced a donation of £480,000 to help secure the park's future.

The apprentice programme is aiming to find 100 recruits to work at GCHQ and the government's intelligence agencies. It joins other inventive ways of finding new staff like recent cipher cracking challenges.

"In the year in which we celebrate the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, one of the finest mathematical minds our country has ever known and a leading light at Bletchley, we want to step up our efforts to find the most talented people to help sustain and secure the UK's code-breaking and cyber expertise for the future," said Hague.

"Young people are the key to our country's future success, just as they were during the War. It will be the young innovators of this generation who will help keep our country safe in years to come against threats which are every bit as serious as some of those confronted in the Second World War."

As well as kicking off the apprentice scheme, Hague also kicked in some money, a large family car short of half a million quid, and Bletchley Park Trust is glad to have it. It will be used to preserve the code-breaking huts used by Turing and his peers.

"The Bletchley Park Trust is enormously grateful to the FCO for the contribution of £480,000 to complete the £2.4 million match funding necessary to unlock a further £5 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant," said Iain Standen, CEO of the Bletchley Park Trust.

"This will allow the Trust to commence the vital restoration of historic code-breaking huts, and the creation of a world-class visitor centre and educational exhibitions."

As for the apprentice programme, GCHQ wants at least 100 youths 18 years or older with three good A Levels - presumably this is how James Bond started - or equivalent vocational qualifications.

Fortunately Bletchey Park looked for candidates with slightly higher qualifications such as maths degrees from Cambridge during the code-breaking WWII years. With the current low standards seen at A-level stage, we’d all be overrun by Nazis now if we’d have left the country in the hands of someone with an NVQ in spying. µ


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