British intelligence seeks next generation of cyber specialists

In today’s increasingly connected world, GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 are putting far greater focus on growing their own technical specialists and are searching for technically-minded Apprentices.

For prospective programmers and tech-savvy talent, the British Intelligence Higher Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Internet and Telecoms could be a tempting alternative to a university degree – and a unique start to a career.  But applicants need to move quickly to avoid missing out. The closing date of 9 November is approaching fast.

The Apprenticeship is a two-year foundation degree scheme run by GCHQ at its Cheltenham HQ. There is an optional third year to obtain a full degree.

Aimed at young people interested in technology and coding, the scheme in some ways is like any other Apprenticeship in that it allows participants to build up their technical expertise while developing soft skills like teamwork, communication and leadership. There’s a mix of classroom-based learning and practical experience – leading to a recognised qualification and a full-time job.

Working in GCHQ alongside MI5 and MI6, students will earn a salary and gain a unique insight into a world otherwise hidden behind closed doors. They will work with some of the world’s best and newest technology and, because our jobs are constantly evolving, there will be plenty of opportunities to develop their skills while they work towards gaining a university-based qualification.

Students will be part of a team that helps ensure that UK Government can operate in cyberspace, playing vital roles in GCHQ’s mission to tackle terrorism, organised crime and cyber threats.

To join the scheme, applicants will need a strong interest in programming and technology. And, due to the technical nature of the scheme, applicants need to have or be expecting three A-levels at Grade C or above (or the equivalent), with at least two in Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths related subjects. The minimum age for the apprenticeship is 18, and there is no upper age limit.

They are particularly keen to encourage applications from women, as part of their effort to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers for women across the UK, and from ethnic minorities to maintain their commitment to a diverse workforce.

Applications can be made via the GCHQ website: