GCHQ starts hunt for tech-savvy apprentices

Would-be Qs and backroom padawans wanted

British intelligence agencies have launched a recruitment drive for “technically minded apprentices”.

For prospective programmers and tech-savvy talent, the British Intelligence Higher Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Internet and Telecoms would offer an alternative to a university degree – and a unique start to a career.

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.

A GCHQ representative told El Reg that it was looking to recruit "in excess of 50" people. The salary would be £17,539.

Aimed at young people interested in technology and coding, the scheme allows participants to build up their technical expertise while developing people 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.

Successful applicants would work at GCHQ while earning a salary and working towards qualifications.

“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,” according to a pitch to applicants by the UK government’s signal intelligence agency. “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.”

Prospective recruits (who need to be 18 and above) need a strong interest in programming and technology.

The closing date for applications, which can be made via the GCHQ website, is 9 November. ®

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