Russian Language Talent Programme Ref.1898

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Cheltenham, London, Scarborough
If you’re studying for a degree in Russian, GCHQ and MI5, two of the UK’s intelligence agencies, are offering you an exciting opportunity to join their Language Talent Programme.


GCHQ and MI5 employ highly skilled Language Analysts in a variety of exciting and rewarding roles. The Language Talent Programme is an 11-week paid scheme for language interns at either GCHQ’s headquarters in Cheltenham or MI5’s headquarters in London. For interns with Russian there are also a small number of placements at GCHQ’s offices in Scarborough. Regardless of agency or location, you’ll be a fully integrated member of an analysis team, using your language skills to contribute directly to our work and really make a difference.

Your language skills and cultural knowledge will be central to all the work you do while on your placement with us. The precise nature of the role will depend on the agency, but you’ll work on a project which could involve analysing, transcribing and translating audio or textual material (which may be technical or specialist in nature), assessing data for intelligence value using bespoke analytical tools and techniques, drafting intelligence reports, conducting research using a variety of tools, providing investigators and agent handlers with contextual cultural knowledge, delivering briefings to the team and liaising with customers and partners. Your skills will have a genuine impact on the team’s work and help enable the team and organisation to fulfil its goals.  

At the end of the scheme, you’ll have the opportunity to sit the graduate entry level tests. If you pass these tests and a competency interview, we’ll offer you a permanent position as a Language Analyst, subject to there being vacancies at that time.


We’re looking for talented, flexible and committed individuals from all backgrounds. You’ll currently be an undergraduate in your final year of university studying Russian. You’ll have completed your year abroad and have, or be on course to develop, the high-level language skills we need. You’ll have an interest in using your language in your career and be keen to develop your skills. For roles at GCHQ, although you may not already have a technical background, you’ll be open to learning new technical skills to complement your language ability.

GCHQ and MI5 can offer long and rewarding careers which combine these language, technical and analytical skills, and we’re looking to select participants for this programme who have an aspiration to work with us long term.


GCHQ and MI5 have an inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes. We value and nurture talent, and are committed to helping you fulfil your potential. You’ll receive a comprehensive training and development package in both language and analysis that will include classroom-based learning and hands-on training, which will enable you to grow your skills and perform to the best of your abilities. Throughout your internship and career, you will be supported by trained professionals and mentors.


GCHQ works to keep the UK safe and secure in the challenging environment of modern communications.  The online threats that the UK faces every day are many and varied, and cyber criminals, terrorists, hackers, fraudsters and organised criminal gangs are all using ever more sophisticated technology. These threats to UK national security come in a multitude of different languages and GCHQ’s Language Analysts use their expert language skills to piece together snippets of information gathered from a variety of digital communications sources.  


MI5’s mission is to keep the country safe from threats to our national security. As well as branches focussed on countering foreign and domestic terrorism, we have a branch dedicated to countering espionage (spying) and cyber threats from China and Russia.  We seek to identify those trying to pass sensitive UK information and equipment to other countries and to ensure they don’t succeed.  We also investigate and disrupt the actions of foreign intelligence officers where these are damaging to our country’s interests.


While on the Language Talent Programme, you will receive a salary of £22,597 per annum at GCHQ (includes a concessionary payment) or £24,717 per annum at MI5, pro-rata over 11 weeks. You will also be eligible for 5.5 days’ leave.

Applicants who pass the end-of-programme graduate-entry language tests and assessment centre, and who are made and accept an offer of employment at GCHQ, will receive a starting salary of £28,804 (includes a concessionary payment).  Those who are made and accept an offer of employment at MI5 will receive a starting salary of £31,807.


The majority of placements will be at GCHQ in Cheltenham, with a small number of Russian placements also available at GCHQ’s offices in Scarborough.

There will be a limited number of placements for Russian linguists at MI5 in Central London.


To be eligible to apply for this position you must meet our nationality, residency and security requirements. Full details of these requirements can be found here.

Be prepared to dedicate 60-90 minutes towards completing this application. We’re conscious this might be more time than you expected, so our system will allow you to save your application at any time and come back to it later. But remember to submit your full application before the closing date of 28 October 2019.

If you meet the minimum eligibility and application sift criteria, the next steps of this selection process will be:

- Language tests (will be held on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 November 2019)
- Assessment centre, including interview, a Digital Analysis Test, a preliminary vetting chat and a drug test (will be held w/c Monday 02 December 2019)

All will be held in Gloucestershire.

If you are successful in the selection process, you’ll receive a job offer, conditional upon you completing our developed vetting (DV) process that enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to undertake this role.

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.