British Intelligence Higher Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Internet and Telecoms unveiled by GCHQ

GCHQ's famous headquarters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

GCHQ’s famous headquarters in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

In today’s increasingly connected world, GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 are putting far greater focus on growing their own technical specialists and, as a result, are now 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 fast approaching.

The apprenticeship is a two-year foundation degree scheme run by GCHQ at its Cheltenham headquarters. There’s 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 the job specifications 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 the UK Government can operate in cyber space, 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. 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 anyone wishing to embark on the apprenticeship is 18 while there’s no set upper age limit.

GCHQ is particularly keen to encourage applications from women as part of its determined efforts to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers for females across the UK. Applications are also welcomed from ethnic minorities as part of GCHQ’s commitment towards maintaining a diverse workforce.

*Applications may be made via the GCHQ recruitment website

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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