LONDON, Oct 18 – Britain launched a new spy recruitment drive on Thursday aimed at youngsters without a university education but with a grasp of social media and computer game skills to counter the threat of cyber attack.
Foreign Secretary William Hague was to make the formal announcement at Bletchley Park in southern England, where Nazi Germany’s Enigma codes were broken in World War II.
Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intelligence agency, which was located at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire during the war, is looking for 100 new recruits from outside the traditional university route.
Instead, applications are being sought from youngsters with A-level qualifications — mormally taken by pupils who stay an extra two years at school until the age of 18 — or vocational qualifications.
Hague “will launch a new drive to find and nurture the next generation of code-breakers and computer scientists — so that the UK and GCHQ can continue to keep the UK safe against cyber threats which are every bit as serious as those that we faced during WWII,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
“This includes a new apprenticeship scheme to be rolled out with the aim of finding up to 100 new recruits for GCHQ and the intelligence agencies.
“Talented young people with good A-levels, or equivalent vocational qualifications in science, technology or engineering can apply. A degree is not required.
“In a world of growing cyber threats, the UK must harness the expertise of its young people, who have grown up with a world of social media, global connectivity and interactive gaming, to make sure we can tackle the threats and challenges of the 21st century.”
GCHQ, whose website carries the motto “keeping our society safe and successful in the Internet age”, is based in a doughnut-shaped building in Cheltenham, southwest England.