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Foreign Office gives Bletchley Park £480,000 and announces GCHQ apprenticeships

Having neglected the home of wartime codebreaking since it packed up and left with the end of hostilities, it looks like the Foreign Office is Turing over a new leaf – Foreign Secretary William Hague paid a visit to Bletchley Park on Thursday to make a couple of announcements that will please both amateur and more serious codebreakers.

First of all, Mr Hague announced a gift of £480,000 from the Foreign Office to the Bletchley Park Trust, which unlocks £5m in match-funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Bletchley Park Trust has been working enormously hard to raise enough to hit that £5m target, so this will be very welcome indeed.

Of course, Government doesn’t just give money away for no reason. That’s where the second announcement comes in: new SIA Apprenticeships, which will sponsor aspiring spooks through a two-year course involving “university education, technical training and work placements” and into jobs either at GCHQ or the other intelligence agencies, as part of an opening-up of the recruitment process at Britain’s sneakiest institutions.

The apprenticeships are open to 18-year-olds with three ‘A’ Levels, two of which must be a grade C or above in a STEM subject. Successful apprentices end up with a Foundation degree and a job offer, but the Foreign Office press release is keen to point out that they’re still looking for mathematicians with a more conventional university maths background.

Further reading

UK to invest in a future generation of code-breakers – Foreign Office press release

William Hague’s speech at Bletchley Park

A very flashy site encouraging “young people” to apply for the apprenticeships

GCHQ Careers maths page

via the Smith Institute and John Graham-Cumming on Twitter

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