News Article

Director opens new GCHQ Scarborough facilities and discusses the importance of women in intelligence

Last Updated: 26 Jul 2016
Director Robert Hannigan visited GCHQ Scarborough to open the new Y Station Museum and a new Training and Development Centre called the Alan Turing Training and Innovation Centre (ATTIC).

News article - 4 Jul 2016

These two facilities are part of a £42 million investment in Scarborough between now and 2020 that will help educate people about the history of signals intelligence and grow the next generation of staff. £30 million will be spent on upgrading and reshaping the Station’s infrastructure, with £12 million being spent on a northern cyber training programme. 

Director Robert Hannigan said: “I’m delighted to open these new facilities, which acknowledge our past and will play an important role in shaping our future. 

Scarborough has long been critical to the delivery of our mission to keep Britain safe and now it will become a training hub for people across the north, enabling students on schemes like our Cyber Summer Schools the chance to learn from our world class staff in state of the art surroundings.


'The Attic' logo is silver on blue, and triangular
©GCHQ 2016


At the opening the Director was joined by World War Two Women’s Royal Navy (WRN) veteran, Sister Pamela Hussey MBE. Enrolling in the Royal Navy in 1942 she was sent to GCHQ Scarborough in the September as a WRN's Wireless Telegraphist special operator.  She talked about her work during the war listening and transcribing German communications sent in Enigma-encoded Morse code before sending them to Station X, now known as Bletchley Park.


Sister Pamela is pointing at one of the documents and saying something about it
©GCHQ 2016


Sister Pamela also spoke about the important contribution women made to all aspects of the war effort, making clear that “without women we would’ve lost the war”. This was a theme the Director picked up in a short speech to local dignitaries and station staff about women in intelligence. He started off by saying that women had played a huge role in delivering GCHQ's mission in the past, citing the work of Joan Clarke and her colleagues at Bletchley Park and during the Cold War, and how they have a critical role to play in current and future operations. 

He said that “day to day women in GCHQ lead teams that combat terrorism, support the military and keep UK cyberspace safe from attack, but we want to see more women who are mid-career apply because we don’t want to deny ourselves the skills and talents of half the population.” 

He went on to explain that GCHQ “offers great apprenticeship and graduate programmes such as CyberFirst and we're an attractive employer for women who want a career change because we offer flexible working hours alongside a mission that's vital for the safety of the country.

But he also said that “we need to do more to attract women because our strength is in our diversity of thought” and explained how “we're broadening where we place our recruitment adverts, using Mumsnet and Twitter, so we can get more fantastic women to GCHQ.

The Head of Scarborough Station said: “The opening of these facilities is an important milestone in our investment project and we were delighted to welcome Sister Pamela back on site. 

We have a vision to be a northern recruitment and training hub for GCHQ and alongside our academic and industry partners an ambition to establish a northern cyber research and innovation campus – this is big step towards achieving that.” 


Sister Pamela has on antique headphones and is twiddling dials on the receiver
©Scarborough News 2016