Mandarin Language Talent Programme Ref. 1568

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Salary of £20,133 (on a pro rata basis over the 11weeks)
If you’re studying for a degree in Mandarin, GCHQ, the UK’s longest-standing code-breaking intelligence agency, is offering you an exciting opportunity to join its Language Talent Programme.


GCHQ employs highly skilled Language Analysts in a variety of roles. The Language Talent Programme is an 11-week paid scheme for language interns at GCHQ’s headquarters in Cheltenham. As a successful candidate, you’ll work as a fully integrated member of an intelligence analysis team, using your language skills and analytical ability to contribute directly to our work and really make a difference. You’ll work on a project that involves conducting research using a variety of tools and introduces you to the kind of analysis techniques we use.

You may get involved in some, or all, of these activities during the placement: translating and transcribing a variety of foreign language material, which may be technical or specialist in nature; assessing data for intelligence value using bespoke analytical tools and techniques; delivering briefings to your team and others; working with people from teams across the Department; drafting intelligence reports, and maybe even visiting GCHQ’s customers and partners.

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 studying Mandarin. 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. Although you may not already have a technical background, you’ll be open to learning new technical skills to complement your language ability.

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


At GCHQ, we’re proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment that’s designed to encourage open minds and attitudes. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential. We offer a comprehensive training and development package in both language and communications technology that will include classroom-based learning, combined with placements in various teams and hands-on training, which will enable you to grow your skills and perform to the best of your abilities. Supported by our collaborative learning environment, you’ll soon be working on projects that help keep the UK safe.


As one of the UK’s intelligence agencies, we unlock the complex world of communications to make a real difference to the safety of the nation. We work closely with our partners in the intelligence community to safeguard the UK’s people, interests and businesses from various threats. Think cyber attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime. This is an exciting opportunity that you simply won’t find anywhere else.


While on the Language Talent Programme, you will receive a salary of £20,133 per annum, pro-rated 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 £26,091.




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 29 October 2018.

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 17 and Sunday 18 November 2018)
- Assessment centre, including interview, a preliminary vetting chat and a drug test (will be held w/c Monday 03 December 2018)

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.