Plans are afoot to build the U.K.’s first National College of Cyber Security at Bletchley Park, the birthplace of the country’s wartime codebreaking efforts.
It was at Bletchley Park that Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, was built during World War II to crack the Lorenz code used by the German high command. Bletchley is also where Alan Turing developed some of his mathematical theories of computing while working on breaking the enigma code.
After the war the site fell into disrepair, but parts of it have been restored and now house the U.K.’s National Museum of Computing.
Other buildings at Bletchley Park, though, are still vacant and it is in one of those that Qufaro, a company founded only last year, hopes to set up a cyber security school.
The company’s directors include Margaret Sale, widow of one of the museum’s founders, and Alastair MacWillson, an IT security consultant.
Qufaro’s ambitious plan for the site includes offering virtual courses on cyber security, and a specialist school offering young people a path to become cyber security professionals.
It hopes to obtain a mix of government funding and corporate sponsorship for the school, and plans to run conferences at the site during school holidays to raise additional funds.
The project has the support of Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Center, which leases the buildings from owner BT, according to a Qufaro spokeswoman.
You can sign up for email updates on the project at Qufaro’s website — although curiously the company insists on obtaining your full name, gender and date of birth in exchange.
If Turing, famously persecuted — and prosecuted — for his homosexuality, were still alive, he might have taken some comfort from the fact that societal attitudes to sexuality and gender have evolved to the point where Qufaro provides “non-binary/third gender” as a possible response to its questionnaire.
“As a country we don’t know a large amount about our cyber security talent,” the spokeswoman explained. “This information allows us to learn more about the type of people that might be right for the sector.”