Turkish Language Talent Programme Ref. 2138

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Cheltenham (located within an hour’s journey of Birmingham and Bristol)
£25,040 per annum pro-rata over 11 weeks (includes a concessionary payment)
If you’re studying for a degree in Turkish, GCHQ and MI5 two of the UK’s intelligence agencies, are offering you an exciting opportunity to join their Language Talent Programme.


GCHQ & 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 (Mandarin, Turkish and Persian) or MI5’s headquarters in London (Mandarin only). 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 fulfill its goals.  

At the end of the scheme, you’ll have the opportunity to sit the graduate-entry language and analysis 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 Turkish. Ideally, you’ll have completed your year abroad (where possible; we understand COVID-19 may have curtailed this) 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 & 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 fulfill 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’ll be supported by trained professionals and language mentors within our collaborative learning environment. You’ll have genuine responsibility from an early stage while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

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.  


GCHQ and MI5 are Disability Confident and Equal Opportunities employers, committed to reflecting the society we protect. Our recruitment process is fair, transparent and based on merit. We particularly welcome applications from diverse and under-represented groups.


While on the Language Talent Programme, you will receive a salary of £25,040 per annum at GCHQ, pro-rata over 11 weeks (includes a concessionary payment).

Applicants who pass the end-of-programme graduate-entry language and analysis tests and assessment centre, and who are made and accept an offer of employment at GCHQ, will receive a starting salary of £30,831 (includes a concessionary payment). This would rise to £33,831 upon successful completion of your 6-month probation period.


The placements will be in Cheltenham.


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 on the GCHQ and MI5 Recruitment websites.

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 19 October 2020.

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

First stage - Language tests and drug test (will be held week commencing 9 November 2020*)
Second stage - Assessment centre, comprising an interview and a preliminary vetting chat (will be held week commencing 30 November 2020*)
*We are planning our recruitment activity in uncertain and quickly changing times. We reserve the right to postpone these dates due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19.

Face-to-face language testing (with social-distancing in a COVID-secure environment) will be held in Gloucestershire (and potentially London) with the second stage of assessment taking place virtually.

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.

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.