Intelligence Officer Development Programme Ref. 3134

Stonewall Top Employer AwardSocial Mobility Foundation AwardThe Times Top 100Disability confident leader

£34,414 rising to £37,203 after 1 year


36 hours a week. Full time (flexible working available, subject to business need)

About Us
MI5 keeps the country safe from serious threats like terrorism and attempts by states to harm the UK, its people and way of life. We carry out investigations by obtaining, analysing and assessing intelligence, and then work with a range of partners, including MI6 and GCHQ to disrupt these threats. Through our protective security arm, we provide advice and guidance to government, businesses and other organisations about how to keep themselves safe. A role in MI5 means you’ll do unique and challenging work in a supportive and encouraging environment, making a real difference to UK national security.

The Role
Our Intelligence Officers (IOs) play a crucial role in keeping our country safe, which makes for one of the most stimulating and rewarding careers you can imagine. As we face increased threats to national security, your role as an IO gives you the opportunity to have a tangible impact on our mission, using your individual instincts, judgement and skills, many of which you use every day.

The goal of the Intelligence Officer Development Programme (IODP) is to give you the grounding you need to launch your career as an IO. It includes an initial job posting to help you learn about our work at MI5 and how we build the overall intelligence picture, along with structured training to give you all the skills you need to take on mission work. Once you’ve completed the programme, you’ll be a fully accredited IO with real Intelligence experience behind you, ready to take on a variety of exciting opportunities at MI5.

As an IO, your role will be about driving investigations forward. Using your training, you’ll set strategies, collaborate with colleagues, make evidence-based recommendations and assess information detailing threats to the UK. It might sound daunting, and it’s true that there’s a steep learning curve, but you’ll get plenty of support from your managers and programme cohort, along with all the training you need to thrive.

You’ll also work alongside external colleagues including MI6, GCHQ, the Counter Terrorism Police (CTP), Whitehall and foreign liaison, as well as a wide range of internal specialists. In short, you’ll work with some fascinating teams, giving you a breadth of experience and knowledge that extends all the way through both the UK’s security services and wider government.

The Programme
Initial Job Posting
The IODP begins with a job posting within MI5, in an area other than Intelligence, like Policy, Compliance, Legal Casework or Analysis. The posting is all about getting to grips with how we work and the frameworks we work within, gaining vital experience and insight that will help you develop relevant and transferrable skills ready for your role as an IO.

Every role throughout our organisation contributes to the overall Intelligence picture in some way, so though your posting may not be directly linked to investigations, you’ll be making an impact from day one. You’ll also get the chance to complete further learning and development opportunities to prepare you for the next stage of the programme.

Investigative Skills Training (IST)
Once you’ve completed your development posting, you’ll move onto our IST course. Spread across 12 weeks, this comprehensive, modular course will train you in the practical skills you need to work in Intelligence. Through a combination of classroom-based sessions and on-the-job training with your investigative team, you’ll gain an accreditation enabling you to advance into your first IO role.

There’s lots to learn, but you’ll be supported every step of the way by a development partner, who’ll be assigned to guide you through your training and provide advice when you need it. You’ll also have the support of your programme cohort, as you go through the training together.

Your First IO Role
Following your training, you’ll be an accredited investigator, which means you’ll be ready to take on your first core role within Intelligence. Here, you’ll spend a minimum of two years putting your new skills into action with real mission work. You’ll be deployed to one of our teams in either Counter-Terrorism or Counter-Espionage and collaborate with a range of colleagues, internal and external, working on investigations that have a direct impact on national security. If you’re ready, there’s also the potential to apply for promotion during your first IO role, like many of our new IOs do.

Your first IO role will come with so much learning and development. You’ll be continuously growing your written and verbal communication skills as you brief colleagues and liaise with partners, adapting your style to fit the situation. Your organisational skills will develop as you plan investigations, organise meetings and manage your workload and resources. And you’ll become an expert problem solver, as you learn how to think strategically to find creative solutions. You’ll get involved with real mission work from day one, and you’ll always have plenty of support around you to help you to grow your knowledge and confidence. 

After the Programme
All the skills you develop in your first IO role will give you what you need to build an exciting career with us. Many IOs remain in Intelligence in an investigative capacity, but others go on to have a varied career across a broad range of roles within MI5 and the wider Intelligence Services.  Progression is based on merit, and if you’re ready there may be the potential for further promotion opportunities in other areas of the organisation after completion of the programme.

About You
There’s no one ‘type’ of person that we recruit. In fact, we need a diverse range of perspectives to be able to protect the UK in the most effective way. Everyone’s individual way of thinking and seeing the world is valuable to our work, and your unique style, instincts and judgement won’t just be encouraged here – they’ll be invaluable.

Becoming an IO might seem like a daunting prospect, but the truth is that you’re likely to already possess a lot of the skills we value. Any additional skills specific to working in Intelligence, you’ll be trained in as part of the programme.

You’ll either need (or be expecting) a 2:2 degree or above in any subject, or you’ll need work experience that’s given you the key skills and qualities you need to do the role. We are looking for individuals who are naturally curious with a love for learning. You’ll have strong written and verbal communication skills, and you’ll also enjoy working collaboratively with good attention to detail.

A lot of your work as an IO will include looking through data sets and information to build an overall picture of threats, so this should be something that interests you. You’ll also be comfortable using your own judgement and making decisions, and someone who’s keen to ask questions to find a solution.

We don’t expect you to be a fully formed IO when you join, so the main qualities we’re looking for are a willingness to learn, and for you to be open to building on your existing qualities and accepting constructive feedback.

Rewards and Benefits
You’ll receive a starting salary of £34,414 rising to £37,203 after one year and other benefits including: 

•    25 days’ annual leave, automatically rising to 30 days after five years’ service, and an additional 10.5 days’ public and privilege holidays
•    Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme
•    Personal Learning Budget 
•    Opportunities to work flexibly, subject to business need
•    Interest free season ticket loan
•    Excellent pension scheme
•    Cycle to work scheme
•    Parental and adoption leave

There are lots of facilities at our sites, like gyms, restaurants, and coffee bars. And we also host lots of social events so that everyone can get together outside of working hours.

Equal Opportunities
At MI5, diversity and inclusion are critical to our mission. To protect the UK, we need a truly diverse workforce that reflects the society we serve. This includes diversity in every sense of the word: those with different backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce such as women, those from an ethnic minority background, people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Find out more about our culture, working environment and diversity on our website.

We’re Disability Confident
MI5 are proud to have achieved Leader status within the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme. This is aimed at encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain, and develop disabled people. Being Disability Confident, we aim to ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview where practicable; this is known as ‘Offer of Interview.’ If you require support, reasonable adjustments are available during the application process and if you are successful in joining the organisation. 

To secure an interview for this vacancy, the minimum criteria (in order of application process) are: 

-    Eligibility questions – you’ll need to answer a series of questions relating to this vacancy. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you’ll be directed to the initial application form.

-    Online questions – you’ll be required to reach the pass mark set for the situational judgement test.

-    Online investigative assessment – you’ll need to reach the pass mark for the written element of the exercise.

On successful completion of these stages, if you’ve opted into the scheme, you’ll be invited to complete a telephone interview. This is our Offer of Interview.

What to Expect
Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here’s a brief overview of each stage, in order:

Eligibility questions – The first step is completing our pre-screening questions to find out if you meet our initial entry criteria. If you do meet these criteria, we’ll then ask you to begin an application. 

Initial form – You’ll need to create a login and provide your full name, email address and memorable password. Once you’ve successfully created a personal account, you’ll be required to complete an initial application form providing contact details and equal opportunities information. The application form also includes a situational judgement test.

Situational judgement test – During the situational judgement test you’ll be presented with a set of hypothetical scenarios, designed using situations relevant to the values and key behaviours needed to be an IO. The situational judgement test asks you to assume the role of an IO in the scenarios, however you don’t need any knowledge of the policies or procedures relating to MI5 in order to answer the questions in this test. You’ll just need to use your own judgement to rate the effectiveness of each option in response to the situation presented, picking what you feel are the most and least effective options.

Online investigative assessment – This 90-minute online assessment tests your ability to make assessments and judgements during a fictional investigation. You’ll be reading, analysing, and making decisions based on the intelligence that you receive during the exercise. There are 15 multiple choice questions to answer, followed by two written questions.

Telephone interview – Your application will be sifted by our recruitment team and if successful, the next stage is a telephone interview. This will include competency-based questions and will explore your motivation to work for MI5.

Online assessment centre – This two-day assessment centre takes place online. Day One includes an interview and a written assessment. Day two involves role-play exercises and self-reflection. The assessment centre is designed to assess the full range of competencies and skills required for the IO role and is often described by candidates as a challenging and rewarding two days.

Vetting and security interview – once you’ve passed all assessments, you’ll receive your conditional offer of employment. This offer is conditional on you passing security vetting. This role requires the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something that everyone at the UK Intelligence Services undertakes, and it exists to keep our colleagues, and our work, safe. It includes providing further information about yourself and completing a security interview. You can find out more about the vetting process here

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process in order to progress to the next and your application may take around 9 to 12 months to process, including vetting. We advise you continue any current employment until you have received your final job offer.

Before You Apply
To work at MI5, you need to be a British citizen or hold dual British nationality. You can read our full eligibility criteria here.

Please note we have a strict drugs policy, so once you start your application, you can’t take any recreational drugs and you’ll need to declare your previous drug usage at the relevant stage. Having previously used drugs will not prevent you from applying, but it’s important that you’re honest at this stage and that you commit to our drugs policy from the point that you apply.

The role is based in London, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application. Due to the secure nature of our work, remote working is not possible or extremely limited in this role. A loan is available to support people relocating to London.

Please note, you should only launch your application from within the UK. If you are based overseas, you should wait until you visit the UK to launch an application. Applying from outside the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member.

Right to Withdraw Statement
Please be aware that we withhold the right to bring forward the closing date for this role from the original closing date once a certain number of applications have been received. Please be mindful of this and submit your application at your earliest convenience to avoid disappointment.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.