Press Release

GCHQ Scarborough welcomes visitors to Cyber Summer School

Last Updated: 20 Aug 2015
Representatives of local educational establishments see first-hand how the intelligence agency is training the cyber workforce of the future, including those with a Humanities background.



Summer School


Press Release - 20 Aug 2015 

Representatives of local educational establishments visited GCHQ Scarborough on Wednesday to see first-hand how the intelligence agency is training the workforce of the future.

Northern Exposure is a summer school run by GCHQ Scarborough to teach crucial cyber skills such as information assurance, the structure of the Internet and programming languages.

The 32 students have benefited from the expertise of GCHQ staff and trainers during their six-week course, which comes to an end on Friday.

GCHQ is committed to improving science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills and is working closely with local communities to facilitate this. Additionally, it is seeking to introduce those with a Humanities background into the world of cyber. As well as coaching young people from a diverse range of backgrounds at the cyber summer school, it holds a seat on the Scarborough University Technical College (UTC) Steering Group, helping to promote an interest in computing, networking and cyber security with local 14-18 year-olds.

During their tour, the visitors, who included representatives from Scarborough University Technical College (UTC), Coventry University, Teesside University, University of York, Gill Tate Associates careers consultancy, Packard & Associates careers consultancy and North Yorkshire County Council, met the Head of Station and the staff and trainers involved in running the summer school. They were shown round the facility and had the chance to talk to the students.

GCHQ’s Head of Station said: "GCHQ’s approach to recruitment and training is becoming more flexible. The Northern Exposure Cyber Summer School was open to young people from both STEM and non-STEM backgrounds and they have all thrived on the course, showing an aptitude for working in the field of cyber.

"I was proud to be able to show our visitors this excellent facility and to demonstrate to them the kind of skills GCHQ needs to be provided by educational establishments in order to continue to keep the UK safe for generations to come".

The visitors had this to say

Professor Craig Gaskell, Provost of Coventry University Scarborough Campus, said: "The Cyber Summer School at GCHQ Scarborough is a great example of the value of developing relationships between employers and employees of the future.

"The new Coventry University Scarborough Campus is being built to help address the skills and employment needs of the local community and to that end we will continue to work closely with local businesses to bring relevant skills to the area like GCHQ".

Richard Flinton, Chief Executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said: "This is a great initiative for GCHQ and Scarborough. The development of talent and the creation of good well-paid jobs in the area is important to the economy and provides an incentive for the types of jobs for local students to aspire to".

Jennifer Plummer, Student Internship Bureau Coordinator, University of York, said: "I am delighted that two of our Arts and Humanities graduates were selected to join the summer school programme. Their academic backgrounds highlight the opportunities available to non-STEM students and graduates in organisations such as GCHQ, which they may not have considered previously as a providing a career path for them. The Careers team at York looks forward to strengthening its links with GCHQ in the coming months, and to promoting the 2016 summer school across all University faculties when it is launched".

Tim Englefield, Principal of Scarborough UTC, said: "Scarborough UTC is about engaging and empowering 14 -18 year-old learners who have a keen interest in engineering or its related subjects such as ICT, science and design. As well as offering a generic curriculum, the UTC will also offer three different engineering qualifications for each age group. Each qualification will reflect the different needs of local industries.

"It’s really important to have organisations such as GCHQ supporting the UTC as this will enable us to give our learners a real insight as well as hands-on experience with a modern, forward-thinking, local employer".

Gill Tate, Careers Consultant, Gill Tate Associates, said: "I found my visit to the new GCHQ Cyber Summer School to be very inspirational and refreshing. It was good to meet staff, tutors and students' taking part in this comprehensive and interactive course. I feel it will encourage young people to benefit from studying STEM subjects, but also motivate students from courses in the Humanities sector who may not have considered a career with GCHQ. It was refreshing to hear how students' had embraced the challenges of the course with enthusiasm, confidence and success".

Arron Martin Zeus-Brown, Programme Leader Computer and Digital Forensics BSc and Digital Forensic Expert at Teesside University, said: "I had the great pleasure of visiting the Northern Exposure Summer School today and as an academic and an industry expert I was really happy to see the wide range of subjects taught within such a short space of time.

"I had the pleasure to meet both the instructors and the students and during the conversations I had I could clearly see that some of the STEM students had caught the cyber defence bug whether it be in a technical role or as intelligence analysts and I would strongly encourage any student in FE or HE aged 18 to 24 with an enquiring mind to apply to the next GCHQ summer school as you never know what they may find within themselves!

"I look forward to forging the strongest of bonds between Teesside University and GCHQ".

Joy Packard, Careers Consultant, Packard & Associates, said: "Wow, where to begin! What an opportunity for thirty two 18-24 year olds from around the country and, most importantly from my point of view as a careers consultant, from diverse subject backgrounds such as international relations, psychology and English. 

"I was impressed with the innovative recruitment process - ads on Spotify, who'd have thought it?  - designed to attract students who might not normally find their way to GCHQ.   The students praised the 'fantastic teaching' and tutors praised the students' talents and level of engagement.

"It was obvious from the atmosphere in the classroom that high quality learning and development had been taking place all week. 

"There are many students in the region who would be interested in next year's school, I bet".

Notes for Editors

About GCHQ

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is one of the three UK Intelligence and Security Agencies, along with MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). GCHQ works to protect the UK and its citizens from a range of threats to national security, including from terrorism, serious and organised crime and cyber-attack. It also works to protect UK forces wherever they are deployed and, through its Information Security arm CESG, provides policy and assistance on the security of Government communications and electronic data.

More information about GCHQ careers.

About Coventry University Scarborough Campus

Coventry University is creating a £14 million purpose-built campus in Scarborough, based upon its pioneering high-quality and low-cost career focused model of higher education. Courses, from access to full degrees, will be delivered at landmark venues in Scarborough from September 2015 ahead of the new campus opening as planned in September 2016.

More information about Coventry University Scarborough Campus.

About the University of York

The University of York was founded in 1963 with 230 students. It now has around 16,000 students and more than 30 academic departments and research centres.

It is a member of the Russell Group and features regularly in the ranks of the UK’s foremost universities. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, York ranked tenth out of 155 UK universities for the impact of its research.

York was named Times Higher Education University of the Year in 2010 for its drive to combine academic excellence with social inclusion, and its record in scientific discovery and investment in the arts and humanities. The University has won five Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for the quality of its research.

The University of York places equal emphasis on research and teaching. Students in every department - both undergraduate and postgraduate - are taught and advised by leaders in their field. The University was joint eighth in the 2015 National Student Survey for the quality of its teaching. 

The University’s £750m campus investment represents one of the largest capital developments in UK Higher Education and provides new student accommodation, world-class research and teaching facilities, and embedded and stand-alone facilities for businesses. The University has a collegiate system in which most staff and all students are members of one of nine colleges.

More information about the University of York.

About Scarborough University Technical College

A UTC is an industry-orientated school designed for ambitious young people, aged 14-18, who have aspirations to become leading future innovators. It is funded by the government, is free to attend and is sponsored by a number of successful companies along with the University of Hull.

Our UTC will offer technically oriented courses of study (around 60% academic / 40% practical), combining National Curriculum requirements such as GCSEs and A Levels with technical and vocational elements. It will also teach business skills and the use of ICT. They offer clear routes into higher education or further learning in work. The study day is longer than in a typical school and is more in line with a commercial working day.

The University Technical College concept is proving to be a very viable option, with a UTC recently being rated as "Outstanding" by Ofsted.

Scarborough UTC will open its doors in September 2016. With a combined sports and education campus being developed costing £45 million, Scarborough UTC will specialise in Advanced Engineering, Design and Control. Our school leavers will be of the highest quality, educated to be the next generation of engineers and technicians.

Scarborough was identified as needing well-educated, appropriately skilled young people to maintain if not further, this sector. It is not business alone that sees the real need for a University Technical College, this is a partnership across private and public sector to tackle a real skills gap in the area.

About Gill Tate Associates

Gill has been successful in supporting and enabling students of all ages to secure employment, education and training opportunities. She has extensive experience in guidance and coaching, to secure positive outcomes. She has been successful in securing funding from the Learning and Skills council for a number of students with learning difficulties/disabilities to go to Specialist College.

Gill has organised Careers Conventions and Job Fairs in her local community, schools and colleges. She has developed workshops in CV writing, job applications and preparation for interview. Gill has designed and delivered group work for young people and adults with learning difficulties. Gill has given guidance on a one to one basis to adults both face to face and by telephone, offering support to clients and helping them to achieve their goals and move forward.

About Teesside University

Teesside University is a modern dynamic, energetic and innovative university based in the North-East of England, dedicated to supporting business and professions. In 2009, we were awarded the UK University of the Year - the first modern university to win the Times Higher award, the culmination of 80 years of innovative vocational education. More recently, in 2013, we were proud recipients of the highest award to Higher education in the UK, the Queen’s Anniversary Award for achievements in engaging with business.

The School of Science and Engineering offers a wide range of programmes in areas, including most branches of Science and Engineering at Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, Bachelor’s degree and postgraduate levels by both taught and research routes.

Uniquely, supported by outstanding analytical and crime scene emulation laboratories, we deliver a full range of Crime Scene and Forensic programmes, including Computer and Digital, which have attracted national recognition.