William Hague, the Foreign Secretary of the UK government, has announced that up to 100 members of the so-called Xbox generation are to be offered the opportunity to work within the British secret service. According to Mr Hague, the government is determined to embrace the "the young innovators of this generation", who, he argued, could help to safeguard UK residents.
It has been announced that the would-be secret service employees will be given training in advanced IT skills and, subsequently, afforded the opportunity to tackle cybercrime. The Conservative Party MP added that the task of these young people would ultimately prove to be as serious as traditional warfare.
He made the remarks at Bletchley Park, which was used during the Second World War to crack the codes used by the German army to organise attacks. "Today we are not at war,” he said, “but I see evidence every day of deliberate, organised attacks against intellectual property and government networks in the United Kingdom from cyber criminals or foreign actors with the potential to undermine our security and economic competitiveness.
"This is one of the great challenges of our time, and we must confront it to ensure that Britain remains a world leader in cyber security and a pre-eminent safe space for e-commerce and intellectual property online."
The program, otherwise known as the Single Intelligence Account apprenticeship, will see successful applicants undertake a degree course in communications, security and engineering at De Montfort University in Leicester. Allied to this, they will pursue a level 4 diploma in IT, software, web and telecommunications professional competence.
It has been revealed that while some of the graduates will go on to enjoy careers with MI5, the security service, and MI6, the intelligence operation, most will ply their trade at GCHQ, the electronic communications agency.