Foreign Secretary William Hague announced half-a-million pounds of government support last week to secure the future of Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire and to launch a new apprenticeship scheme to recruit Britain’s brightest cyber threat specialists.
Bletchley Park was the home of Britain’s successful wartime code breaking activities and where Alan Turing – who was born one hundred years ago this year – built the forerunner to the world’s first computers.
The computing heritage of this country is second to none: Britons created the first computers and the Worldwide Web. It is the responsibility of this generation to ensure that we safeguard Britain’s IT ingenuity for future generations.
The government’s cash – which will come from the Foreign Office’s budget – will unlock £5 million of Heritage Lottery grant that will ensure that Bletchley Park is maintained as a visitor centre and create 100 apprenticeships for GCHQ Cheltenham – the modern day successor of Bletchley.
“Young people are the key to our country’s future IT and security and 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,” said Mr Hague.
The apprenticeships will be open to young people who have vocational qualifications in science, technology or engineering, but who have not necessarily gone on to take a degree.
I told the Knowledge & Innovation in Manchester Event last week that creating the correct environment of young talent to develop and grow through school, university and apprenticeships is the fundamental building block for the future of the Tec industry.
The IT industry is obviously fluid and businesses need to re-invent themselves every few years. There is no sitting back on past glories in our industry and young talent is the essential fuel for that re-invention.