Code breaking centre Bletchley Park has opened its first computer centre and learning zone for school children.
Opened in association with McAfee, their UK and Ireland vice president Ross Allen said it was answering a “cry for help” with the five year partnership to learn about the importance of cyber security.
The interactive zone will see the exhibition and workshops run at the new Computer Learning Zone to engage, inspire and educate visitors about the ever-evolving cyber threat. This is held in Block C, an area of Bletchley Park which has sat derelict for decades, and has been as a centre for educational excellence.
Allen said: “The idea is to teach 16,000 children who will visit the site. This is also an extension of the McAfee kids program to teach about the importance of online safety. This program will help prepare the next generation of cyber security. We couldn’t be more proud to be associated with Bletchley Park.”
Sir John Scarlett, chairman of Bletchley Park, said that the regeneration and transformation was “a big deal by any standards” and praised the work of the World War 2 codebreakers whose work he said “shortened the war by 18 months or two years, but saved hundreds of thousands of lives”, echoing comments made by wartime President Dwight Eisenhower.
He said: “This is a special place by any standards and I am proud to work with McAfee on this exhibition as this has been done in the tradition of Bletchley Park and it shows what we can offer across a whole range of IT issues.”
Raj Samani, EMEA CTO of McAfee, cited examples of parents not knowing who to turn to for cyber education issues, and said that “having a place like this is of permanent importance”. He said: “Getting youngsters to understand cyber security is really important. Our deal is two-fold: the ability to have a resource where people can visit and interact with people and understand online safety, and the importance of the next generation of cyber security and the opportunities within it.
“What skills do children have? If there is nowhere to be inspired they will want to know and if there is no inspiration from the parents, where are they supposed to go and what opportunities are there to learn? What better opportunity is there than Bletchley Park?”
In addition, McAfee is sponsoring an Online Safety Education Officer, who will deliver McAfee’s Online Safety for Kids programme to schools that attend Bletchley Park alongside providing e-learning strategies, advice and training.
Nicola Halls, an ex-teacher and graduate in neuroscience with a passion for education and
online safety, has been named as Bletchley Park’s first Online Education Officer to deliver a learning programme in online safety. Her role will entail: training new volunteers in delivering the McAfee Online Safety for Kids programme; managing the development of online learning resources related to the Bletchley Park education programme; and evaluating and confirming learning objectives through ongoing needs assessments.