1:32pm Thursday 29th May 2014
By Tom Edwards
A HIGH-FLYING Tory minister came to Worcestershire today - to insist the county can become a world leader in fighting internet fraud.
David Willetts, the Government's minister for universities and science, visited Malvern to launch the opening of the new National Cyber Skills Training Centre.
The facility, the only one of its kind in the entire country, offers training on so-called "ethical hacking" - where experts break into the websites of everything from leading international brands to small companies to see how secure they are.
Based at Malvern Hills Science Park off Geraldine Road, which is already becoming the UK's very own 'cyber valley', it aims to skill up young people and company leaders into internet security.
The Government has already committed £600 million towards cyber security, with areas like Malvern quickly gaining a reputation for research into crime prevention online.
Mr Willetts said: "It's enlightening to be here, and I think it's very smart for Malvern to invest in people in this way.
"The cyber security industry is rapidly growing and what they are doing here is preparing young people to get those jobs of the future.
"It can be the leader in this area and that will be great for the economy.
"This country is already great at software, great at IT, we are already a key global player and export £1 billion of cyber security goods and services, and it will grow further."
He was accompanied on his visit by West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin, with the duo heading to QinetiQ in Malvern to speak to bosses there.
During his trip Mr Willetts also warned that cyber crime, mainly financial fraud online, is a real danger.
"Cyber crime can take so many forms, from basic hacking to identity fraud," he said.
"Young people can either use it to get into crime or instead go the other way and learn about cyber security to make a great career out of it, that's what centres like this are about."
The centre is funded by Worcestershire County Council, along with the Local Enterprise Partnership and the actual companies based at the science park.
It is also working with the likes of the University of Worcester to build cyber security into degree studies.
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