British intelligence services opening the doors to next generation cyber spooks

British intelligence services GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 has decided to start growing its own cyber talent by creating its own Higher Apprenticeship.

Desmond Llewelyn as Q in yet another James Bond movie
Desmond Llewelyn as Q in yet another James Bond movie

It's not so much an opportunity to be the next James Bond, more like the next Q – GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 are searching for technically-minded apprentices.

The British Intelligence Higher Apprenticeship in IT, software, internet and telecoms could be “a tempting alternative to a university degree – and a unique way to start a career,” according to a GCHQ press release.

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.

Like apprenticeships in less secret industries, the programme is a mix of classroom-based learning and practical experience, leading to a recognised qualification and a full-time job.

Apprentices will work in GCHQ alongside MI5 and MI6, earning while they learn about the work of the intelligence services.

“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,” the agency said.

Requirements for the apprenticeship include a strong interest in programming and technology, three A-levels at grade C or above with at least two of those in STEM-related subjects. Minimum age is 18 and there is no maximum age.

The agency is keen to encourage applications from women and minorities.

There's no need to tunnel into GCHQ or hack their website – applying is as simple as visiting the GCHQ careers website. But act quickly – the deadline for applications is 9 November.