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UK Spy Agencies on the Hunt for Recruits

The UK government is on the lookout for budding coders to take up apprentice positions at GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 with Monday the closing date for applications.

Careers in British Intelligence, which is co-ordinating the scheme, said it could be a tempting alternative to a traditional university degree.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for recruits to get unique insights and perspectives into the work of the intelligence services,” it noted in a statement.

“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 programs on offer include the British Intelligence Higher Apprenticeship in IT, Software, Internet and Telecoms. This leads to a Foundation Degree and requires working at GCHQ in Cheltenham for a year, as well as potentially MI5, MI6 or the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The second scheme is a three-year Technical Apprenticeship based in Greater Manchester and leading to a BSc Honours degree.

The government is claiming the two programs differ from most apprenticeships in that they offer the opportunity to earn a salary whilst building up unique tech and soft skills in a top secret environment.

GCHQ claimed it was particularly keen to accept applications from women and ethnic minorities as part of ongoing efforts to broaden the diversity of the workforce.

The salary for both schemes is just short of £18,000 per year, although wannabee cyber spies will have to be quick, with today being the final day applications are being received.

The NCA and GCHQ have also been heavily involved with the Cyber Security Challenge UK—another way for government and private sector organizations to spot the brightest and best amateur tech enthusiasts for possible recruitment.

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