The UK's foreign secretary William Hague launched a "spy drive" during a visit to Bletchley Park, the home of World War 2 code-breaking, last week. As well as broadening recruitment for the government's GCHQ communications headquarters, Hague also announced a £480,000 grant to the Bletchley Park Trust, which will enable it to start restoring derelict wartime huts and develop into a world-class heritage site.
Hague said: "We are determined to preserve this legacy and build on it for the future. In the year in which we celebrate the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, 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."
First, Hague announced an apprentices scheme to find "70 new recruits for GCHQ and our other intelligence agencies", and said the agency would attempt to draw on "a wider pool of talent" by adopting "an open door and continuous recruitment strategy" instead of an annual intake of new graduates.
Then he announced the annual National Cipher Challenge "run by the University of Southampton and sponsored by GCHQ". This will encourage schools to get involved with cybersecurity skills "including ciphers and code-breaking", said Hague.
The Bletchley Park Trust said it was enormously grateful to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for its £480,000 contribution, which completed a £2.4m matchfunding element and thereby unlocked a £5 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
The Trust said that "during his visit Mr Hague met WW2 Codebreaking veterans including Captain Jerry Roberts, Lord Asa Briggs, Charlotte Webb, Gwendoline Page and Baroness Trumpington and was enthralled by a demonstration of the Enigma and the Bombe machines by WW2 WRENs, Ruth Bourne and Jean Valentine."
On Twitter, Hague posted a photo with the message: "A @bletchleypark veteran shows me a bombe machine of the type she operated during WW2". He also tweeted a "Photo of the enigma machine which will go on display next to my office in the @foreignoffice".