Press Release

You're hired! British Intelligence looking for apprentices

Last Updated: 14 Nov 2016
To help combat the increasing threats that Britain faces from terrorists, hackers and cyber fraudsters, GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 are searching for technically-minded apprentices.

Press release - 10 Nov 2016

For prospective programmers and tech-savvy talent, an apprenticeship could be a tempting alternative to a university degree – and a unique start to a career – but time is running out with the closing date fast approaching.

A spokesperson representing Careers in British Intelligence said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for recruits to get unique insights and perspectives into the work of the intelligence services. In addition, the opportunity to do real hands-on work that makes a difference to keeping the country safe makes this Apprenticeship exciting and different. We have been offering apprenticeships for a number of years and see a huge amount of value in them for our work."

The two schemes available are aimed at young people interested in technology and coding. With a mix of classroom-based learning and practical experience they could lead to a recognised qualification and, potentially, a full-time job.

The British Intelligence Higher Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Internet and Telecoms leads to a Foundation Degree, and offers a year working in Cheltenham with placements at GCHQ or even in London, possibly at MI5, MI6, or the National Crime Agency (NCA) afterwards.

The second, a three-year Technical Apprenticeship scheme based in the Greater Manchester area, leads to a BSc Honours Degree and will give apprentices the opportunity to build and maintain some of the world's most sophisticated electronic equipment amongst other exciting things.

Both schemes are in many ways like any other Apprenticeship in that they allow participants to earn a salary while they build up their technical expertise and develop soft skills like teamwork, communication and leadership. But our apprentices also gain a unique insight into a world otherwise hidden behind closed doors and take on the responsibility of being entrusted with access to top secret information. It can be daunting at first, but they quickly get used to it.

The closing date for both schemes is 14 November 2016.

GCHQ are particularly keen to encourage applications from women, as part of their effort to promote STEM careers for women across the UK, and from ethnic minorities to maintain their commitment to a diverse workforce.

For further details on both schemes and to apply, visit the GCHQ careers website:

Notes for Editors

About GCHQ

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is one of Britain’s three Intelligence and Security Agencies, along with MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). GCHQ works to protect Britain and its citizens from a range of threats to national security, including from terrorism, serious and organised crime and cyber-attack. It also works to protect British forces wherever they are deployed and, through its Information Security arm CESG, provides policy and assistance on the security of Government communications and electronic data. 

Further information about GCHQ can be found on our website:

About MI5

MI5's mission is to keep the country safe. For more than a century we have worked to protect our people from danger whether it be from terrorism or damaging espionage by hostile states.

MI5 currently employs around 4,000 people. Around 40% of staff are women, just over half are under 40 years old, 8% are from black or ethnic minority backgrounds and 3% have a disability. Staff roles cover a number of areas including investigations, translation, data analysis, technology, surveillance, communications, information management, protective security, administration, building services and catering.

MI5’s headquarters are at Thames House, a Grade II listed building situated only a few hundred yards from the Houses of Parliament in London. We also have several regional offices and a headquarters in Northern Ireland.

Find out more at:

About MI6

At the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) – otherwise known as MI6 – our mission is clear. We work secretly overseas, developing foreign contacts and gathering intelligence that helps to make the UK safer and more prosperous. We help the UK identify and exploit opportunities as well as navigate risks to our national security, military effectiveness and economy. We work across the globe to counter terrorism, resolve international conflict and prevent the spread of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons. We are here to help protect the UK’s people, economy and interests.

Find out more by going to:

About the Higher Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Internet and Telecoms scheme

  • This is a tri-Agency campaign by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6
  • Role title: Higher Apprenticeship - IT, Software, Internet and Telecoms
  • Two year Foundation Degree scheme
  • Salary: £17,942 per year

Application deadline for the Sept 2017 intake: 14 November 2016

About the Technical Apprenticeship scheme

  • This is a tri-Agency campaign by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6
  • Role title: BSc Honours Degree Apprenticeship 
  • Three year Honours Degree scheme
  • Salary: £17,942 per year

Application deadline for the Sept 2017 intake: 14 November 2016


For images, please go to: 

For more information about this press release contact the GCHQ Press Office on or 01242 221491 ext 33847.