The recruits will join the NCA's specialist National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) which is spearheading its fight to cut serious and organised cyber crime, including multi-million pound criminal hackers and child sex abusers hiding in the ‘dark web'.
At a time when there is a recognised global shortage of cyber security experts, the NCCU says it is trawling for applicants who simply “have ambition and aptitude in the area of work, rather than qualifications. For instance, young people who have left school or college with limited qualifications could still be strong candidates providing they can prove their knowledge or interest in the cyber or intelligence world.“
The agency will put those chosen through a two-year apprenticeship in network intrusion, hacking software and the like. NCA deputy director general, Phil Gormley, commented: “This trainee programme shows that we are opening the NCA up to new people and new ideas, diversifying our workforce and modernising the workplace – while at the same time transferring expertise gained through years of experience.”
The NCA will open online recruitment on 1 November at www.ncacareers.com and close the list when it has received 8,000 forms. Candidates will then fill out a security-focused questionnaire and undergo online tests of their numerical, verbal and logic reasoning.
When it has whittled down the number to around 1,000 candidates, the NCA will invite them to an assessment centre during the first two weeks of December. The reward for being taken on will be a starting salary of £22,407 rising to £24,717 after the two-year apprenticeship. The jobs will be based in Warrington and London.
The 400 new cyber and intelligence officers will join more than 4,000 NCA staff. The NCCU is simultaneously signing up cyber experts from the private sector as ‘special constables' to help in its efforts.
The NCA was launched on 7 October and its NCCU arm merges specialists from the now defunct Met Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) and the Cyber division of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca). NCCU is led by former Soca cyber boss, Andy Archibald, while a permanent head is recruited.