GCHQ – Apprenticeships in British Intelligence

I did a careers talk at work the other day for a group of sixth formers about how I got started in my career and what my job actually entails.

I probably got a tad too carried away with the self-depreciation (at one point joking about how I ‘looked 40’, despite leaving sixth form less than six years ago.

As part of the chat, one thing I was really keen to discuss was the topic of going to university: is getting into debt worth it? Will you actually gain anything from your study? Could you gain experience elsewhere?

It appears quite timely to me – given my recent experience, the timing of a new James Bond film and the end of my guilty pleasure, the BBC spy series Hunted – that I’ve been just approached with news of an Apprenticeships scheme with British Intelligence.

(I now realise I could have said ‘I’ve been approached by MI5’, but let’s not get too carried away here, I regularly get confused by our office printers so it’s a role that is perhaps not best suited to me.)

Essentially this is a chance for tech-savvy teens and mathematically-minded young people to help MI5 and MI6 keep Britain safe, whilst gaining a Two year Technical programme in IT, Software, Internet, Telecoms and earning £17,000 to do it. The first year is based in GCHQ
 (that’s Cheltenham and Gloucester to you and me) and the second will feature placements that may find apprentices working in London.

As with any course or job, there are a few application requirements:

“You will have, or be expected to gain by September 2013, three A-Levels (or equivalent qualifications), two of which must be at Grade C or above in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) related subject.”

You have to be British, but they’re looking for applicants from all backgrounds.

To find out more you can register for their open days in Manchester, London or Cheltenham by heading to their website: www.careersinbritishintelligence.co.uk, but be quick – applications close on November 30.

If I was considering my options, and I happened to be more scientifically minded, this would be it for me – £17,000 is more than my salary for my first job outside of Uni for a start! Plus, after two years you can use your skills elsewhere or even save that salary up for taking another course.

(I’m a bit jealous now!)

Would you consider giving it a go?

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