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Colossus veteran salutes Bletchley Park's first cyber-security graduates

Some of the first students to complete Qufaro's cyber-security course were presented with their certificates by a 94-year-old Colossus code-breaking veteran. The online course is a step towards setting up a cyber-security college at Bletchley Park.

Aaron Revell gets his certificate from Irene Dixon

Aaron Revell (17) receiving his EPQ certificate from former war-time code-breaker Irene Dixon at TNMOC, Bletchley Park.

Photo by John Robertson.

Bletchley Park, home of the UK's war-time code-breaking efforts, has awarded CyberEPQs to the first 60 students to complete its online cyber-security course. The CyberEPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is equivalent to the AS-level certificate awarded in UK schools, and is certified by City & Guilds. It counts for UCAS credits in university applications.

Irene Dixon, one of the first operators of the Colossus Mk I, presented 10 students with their certificates at Bletchley Park in front of the National Museum of Computing's Colossus rebuild.

The online course is a step towards the creation of a National College of Cyber Security at Bletchley Park. This project is backed by Qufaro, a non-profit body created by people from Cyber Security Challenge UK, the National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), the Institute of Information Security Professionals, BT Security and Raytheon.

The college is due to open in a restored G-Block at Bletchley Park in 2019. See: Bletchley Park: Teen cyberdefence school planned at historic home of codebreaking

Tim Reynolds, a co-founder and board member of Qufaro, said in a press statement: "This is the start of a hugely important initiative that will seek out talent throughout the country so that society can be protected from the growing cyber threats that we all see too clearly in our daily lives. We are progressing our plans for a National College of Cyber Security on historic Bletchley Park and welcome those across industry who wish to play their part."

The first course - delivered via Moodle - included security vulnerability testing, intrusion detection, digital forensics, security architecture, business resilience and security compliance. The next one has new modules covering cryptography and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The course also requires a final written essay and a presentation.

Registration opens at cyberepq.org.uk on 23 October 2017.

Although originally aimed at "gifted 16-19 year olds", the course has also attracted some "mature career-changers". Cyber-security experts are in demand.

The course costs £142.80 for those aged 18 and under, and £299.99 for those who are over 18 and not in full-time education. An international version (for non-UK students) is under development.