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Innovators at the Parks: FCDO Services and UK NACE attend schools’ outreach event

On Thursday 8 February 2024, FCDO Services, the UK National Authority for Counter-Eavesdropping (UK NACE) and HMGCC attended a collaborative schools outreach event hosted by Bletchley Park as part of its cyber learning programme.

The event, coined ‘Innovators at the Parks’ was an exciting opportunity for students to find out about today’s apprenticeship schemes at Hanslope Park as well as learn about the rich history of Bletchley Park, Hanslope Park’s better known World War Two sister site. Bletchley Park is now an independent museum and heritage attraction, open daily. The workshops took place in its new Learning Centre in Block E, a wartime building that was once the sites communications hub.

Nearly 200 Year 11 students from schools and colleges across the Milton Keynes area attended the event.

Interactive workshops

Students took part in a series of hands-on interactive workshops that gave them the opportunity to see the creativity and innovation involved in national security work. The workshops were run by apprentices and volunteers to help promote the current schemes. Activities included ‘ask an apprentice’ run by current apprentices, searching for eavesdropping devices, and some coding and encryption tasks.

A student taking part in a counter-eavesdropping activity said “I liked the way we could use the infra-red cameras to find the listening devices in the most unusual areas. I had no idea that they could be in everyday items. I found it cool that you could do this every day for your job!”

Dr Anna Morrison CBE, founder of Amazing Apprenticeships, also attended the event to talk to students about the benefits of choosing an apprenticeship and encouraged them to find out more about the schemes available at Hanslope Park. Dr Anna said:

Today is exciting because it’s bringing together the organisations based at Hanslope Park to inspire 200 Year 11 students from across Milton Keynes. It’s crucial that they understand the opportunities that are available right here on their doorstep and also how exciting they are.

Inspiring the next generation

“When I was younger, I didn’t have this sort of information about apprenticeships so for students to be able to get this information and find out about the history of Bletchley Park is great. You can see that the students are all engaged and interested in the sessions today.” A teacher at the event.

The students were also given an insight into the vital work of the World War Two Codebreakers – who numbered almost 9,000 by the end of the war, seventy-five percent of whom were women.

Rebecca Foy, Director of Public Engagement at Bletchley Park Trust said:

Bletchley Park is considered a birthplace of modern computing, where women and men first started using pioneering technology that continues to shape our world today. It was wonderful to work with Hanslope Park to showcase this history through our cyber learning programme, which thousands of learners enjoy every year.

Apprenticeships at FCDO Services

Mike Astell, Chief Executive Officer for FCDO Services said:

We’ve been hiring and developing apprentices since the 1960s, giving people the skills and opportunities to thrive. Our apprenticeships could see you working in a technical role overseas, or one which is based in Hanslope Park or London. You’ll become an integral part of your team, balancing your learning with real life work that supports critical government activity around the world.

Participating in this event underlines the commitment of our organisations to foster talent and inspire the next generation of technology, cyber security, and engineering professionals within the UK government. Our teams carry out critical work at the heart of the UK’s national security and it was inspiring to see so many students engaged in STEM topics at this event.

This year FCDO Services has launched four exciting apprenticeship programmes in Logistics, IT, Technical Engineering and Associate Project Management.

Whether you or someone you know is kick-starting a career, returning to work or changing jobs, our apprenticeships could be the perfect opening to a brighter future. Discover the exciting apprenticeship programmes we have on offer at FCDO Services today.

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