Head of GCHQ Technology Research and Engineering (Manchester) Ref. 2258

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£72,952 / £77,219 depending on experience, plus a £5000 recruitment bonus
At GCHQ, 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, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodiverse conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce.

An exciting opportunity to contribute to the future of GCHQ and to develop a new kind of security in this ever more complex world. In the rapidly shifting, globally connected time in which we now live, our challenge to maintain the ability of GCHQ and UK Government to harness future technologies is becoming more and more difficult.

This post is within GCHQ’s Directorate of Research and Engineering (DRE) and provides strategic, visionary leadership to a team of currently circa 200 researchers and engineers working at the forefront of technology. This team is expected to see significant growth in the coming years.

You will lead the Manchester-based DRE business and be accountable for providing visible people leadership, and for setting out and delivering a clear vision and strategy aligned with and helping to achieve the overall GCHQ objectives for Manchester.

DRE Manchester works alongside our local ecosystem; including academia and industry to accelerate and maximise mission impact from our Engineering, Research, and Innovation efforts, pulling on a wide mix of minds to create innovative and inventive solutions and enabling us to better identify and disrupt threats to the UK.


As Head of DRE Manchester, you will lead the team through significant challenges and opportunities: Digital Transformation; establishing a Cloud Native mindset and practices; re-imagining the future enterprise architecture etc. You will be building a workforce with a mix of minds and skills and behaviours that are fit for the future.


You will balance the competing needs of a wide and diverse set of stakeholders including (but not limited to):

•    The DRE Board
•    A range of GCHQ (including NCSC) and wider Government stakeholders
•    The Manchester Mission Hub
•    The local Manchester eco-system (Academia, local industry etc)

Collaborative Working

You will ensure that DRE in Manchester works collaboratively both internally and externally with stakeholders, which includes engaging the local eco-system to help GCHQ meet its objectives, but also support the growth and development of Manchester as a Digital Economy.

DRE Manchester has been in a period of change for some time. As the head of DRE Manchester, you will need the enthusiasm and interpersonal skills to champion and drive sustainable change that delivers real improvements to our mission capability.

You will build close partnerships with our mission partners to collaboratively deliver the mission through new innovative ways of working and tools. You will share our experiences of growing in Manchester to shape and influence the approaches being taken by other business areas. You will play a full role in GCHO's Manchester Transformation as part of the core leadership team across the city.

You will lead genuine cross-functional teams solving mission problems working collaboratively across the three hubs of Cheltenham, Manchester and London.


You will create a culture of openness, empowerment and autonomy that will grow thriving and self-sustaining and high performing teams, utilising our partners to augment our skills and workforce capacity.

Key Responsibilities

•    Exemplify inclusive and supportive leadership and passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion.
•    Demonstrate collaborative working and success, through peer group teams
•    An exceptional and resilient leader adept at building and maintaining strong relationships with internal and external partners. You will be able to relate to and understand your technical staff and support your colleagues
•    You will have a credible leadership background, preferably with demonstrable experience in running a STEM business area and insight into modern engineering and technology best practice
•    You will a have experience of delivering transformation change
•    Your communication skills will be exemplary, able to articulate vision in a clear and accessible way, inspiring stakeholders and colleagues to follow you and empowering your brilliant workforce
•    The post is preferred to be based in Manchester, but applications from other locations will be welcome – noting an expectation for a weekly presence in Manchester -  regular travel to the GCHQ locations will be required.
•    We are seeking applicants from the widest possible talent pool and a mix of minds for this role.

Training and Development

We’re proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment that is designed to encourage open minds and attitudes. As an organisation that values and nurtures talent, we’re committed to helping you fulfil your potential. With comprehensive training and development opportunities tailored to your needs and the requirements of your work, we’ll enable you to flourish in your role and perform to the very best of your abilities.

Selection Process

To apply for this position, you must meet our nationality, residency and security requirements.  You’ll find more details here.

As users of the disability confident scheme, we also guarantee to interview all disabled candidates who meet the minimum criteria for our roles.

You can familiarise yourself with the general competencies we use to assess the aptitude of candidates here.

Be prepared to dedicate 60-90 minutes to completing your 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.

Once we’ve established that you meet our eligibility criteria, the next steps of this selection process are:

-    Telephone Interview
-    Online proficiency test
-    Personal Interview*
-    Drug test

If you successfully complete these stages, you’ll receive a job offer, conditional upon you completing our developed vetting (DV) process which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to perform this vital role.

Disability Confident Statement:

As a Disability Confident employer, we will ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview. This is known as the Offer of Interview (OOI). If you successfully complete the required stages, and are successful at interview, you will receive a job offer conditional on you completing your vetting process, which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to undertake this role.
If you successfully complete the required stages, and are successful at interview, you will receive a job offer conditional on you completing our developed vetting (DV) process, which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to undertake this role.

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.