CyberFirst Degree Apprenticeship in Cyber Security Ref.2362

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Cheltenham, Scarborough, Manchester
Total package: £22,336 (this is made up of a basic salary £20,147 + £2,189 concessionary payment)

As one of Britain’s intelligence agencies, we unlock the complex world of communications to keep our nation safe. We work closely with MI5 and MI6, our partners in the intelligence community, to safeguard Britain’s people, interests and businesses from various threats. Think cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime. It’s challenging, varied and meaningful work that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

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.


The UK needs to train a new generation of cyber security specialists. GCHQ’s unique CyberFirst Degree Apprenticeship is a great opportunity to develop advanced cyber security skills, while helping the UK to grow its technical capabilities.  During the three-year programme, while gaining a recognised university degree, you’ll get exposure to some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies along with practical insights into the innovative ways we use them to protect our digital world. 

Our modern lives revolve around technology. And the more we rely on our gadgets, the more our nation needs cyber security experts. If you’re looking to start your career after ‘A’ levels (or equivalent), our unique CyberFirst Degree Apprenticeship will offer you new challenges every day.  This is a full Degree Apprenticeship like no other. You’ll gain a unique insight into our work which is always technically challenging and there is huge scope for your own personal development.  Our work is constantly evolving, giving you lots of opportunities over the three-year programme to explore and develop advance cyber security skills in areas such as programming, computing, technical analysis, malware, vulnerability and threat analysis and computer hardware. 

Think cyber-attacks, espionage, terrorism, and organised crime.  This is an opportunity that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

Along with your day-to-day work, we’ll pay for you to study a recognised degree in Cyber Security, all with a basic salary of £20,147 + concessionary payment £2,189.  You’ll receive full training and support throughout the programme and all the benefits that you’d expect from a Civil Service organisation.  Whilst gaining a recognised university degree and building your experience and confidence in the workplace you’ll also develop a broad range of skills including teamwork, communication, leadership, and be part of a close-knit cohort that provides opportunities for support and learning within its community.
After successful completion of your Degree Apprenticeship, subject to business needs and you meeting the necessary criteria, you may be offered full-time employment. 

 To apply for the CyberFirst Degree Apprenticeship in Cyber Security starting in September 2022, you must: 

•    Be a British citizen.  
•    Have (or be expecting to have by September 2022), a minimum of 2 ‘A’ Levels at Grade B and 1 ‘A’ level at grade C or above (112 UCAS points or equivalent*)   

*A list of equivalent qualifications can be found on the UCAS Tariff calculator

We are looking for motivated and committed individuals, from all backgrounds, with an aspiration for a career in cyber security.  A keen interest in, or desire to learn about programming, computing and technology is essential.  As part of the selection process, you’ll be expected to demonstrate that you have the aptitude to develop a technical understanding of cyber security.  Although previous experience in coding would be advantageous, it’s not required as you’ll have the opportunity to develop these skills on the apprenticeship.   

If you’re excited about working with us and think you have some of what we’re looking for but aren’t sure if you’re 100% there yet… why not just give it a go! 


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. Through a comprehensive training and development package, we’ll enable you to grow your skills and perform to the best of your abilities. Over the three-year programme, you’ll get a mix of university-delivered classroom and lab education in state-of-the-art off-site facilities along with technical training, mentoring and job shadowing, and hands-on, work-based placements and projects. Supported by our collaborative learning environment, you’ll soon be working on projects that help keep Britain safe.  

Formal training will take place, mostly off site in the first two years, in Cheltenham which is an easy commute from cities such as Bristol and Birmingham. Work placements will typically take place in the location for which you have been recruited. After successful completion of your three-year Degree Apprenticeship and subject to business needs and meeting the necessary criteria, you may be offered full-time employment. 


Total package: £22,336 (this is made up of a basic salary £20,147 + £2,189 concessionary payment).  


The role is based in Cheltenham for the first two years and in the final year you will be based at the location you have been recruited for. The majority of posts are likely to be based in Cheltenham but there may be opportunities in Scarborough, Bude and Manchester. 


To apply for this position, you must be 18 by 1st September 2022 and meet our nationality, residency and security requirements.  Full details of these requirements can be found here. 

Applications will open on Monday 6th September 2021 and close on 27th September 2021.  

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 the selection process are: 

•    Online Exercise – Please note, the link to the online exercise platform will be emailed to you following confirmation of eligibility and will be available shortly after you have applied. This must be completed no later than Monday 25th October.

•    Business sift 

•    Assessment Centre / Interview*  
*Assessment Centres/Interviews are likely to be held in November/December 2021, and most likely will be virtual.

If successful, you’ll receive an offer to complete the CyberFirst Degree Apprenticeship in Cyber Security, conditional upon exam results and you completing our Developed Vetting (DV) process which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to undertake this role.

We would like to offer you the opportunity to try out the Immersive Labs before you submit your application, to find out more please click here.

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 opportunity will be offered an interview. This is known as the Offer of Interview (OOI). To secure an interview for this opportunity, candidates applying under this scheme must meet the following minimum criteria:

·    Application form - you will be asked a series of eligibility questions and other questions relating to this vacancy. If you meet these criteria, you will be sent a link to the Online test.
·    Online test - you will be required to reach the pass mark set for the Immersive Labs Online Exercise.

On successful completion of the application form and the online test you will then be invited to the assessment centre.

If successful, you’ll receive a CyberFirst Degree Apprenticeship offer, conditional upon exam results, university offer and you completing our Developed Vetting (DV) process which enables you to obtain the level of security clearance required to undertake this offer.
To be eligible to apply, you must be a British Citizen. One of your parents must be a British Citizen or must have one of the nationalities or citizenships from one of the following: British Overseas Territory, British Subject, British National (Overseas), British Overseas Citizen, British Protected Person, citizenship of a country in the Commonwealth, citizenship of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA), or citizenship of the United States of America (USA). If deceased, they should have had such citizenship or nationality before death. If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered. If successful, you will not normally be required to give up your non-British citizenship but, as a condition of your employment or secondment, ERA may impose restrictions on your postings, work travel and/or general use of that nationality. Candidates must normally have been resident in the UK for seven out of the last ten years. This is particularly important if you were born outside the UK. Each case will be carefully considered on its own facts. You can apply at the age of 17 years and 6 months, if successful you will not be offered a start date prior to your 18th birthday. Discretion is vital. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member. 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 of the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application. Further information on our eligibility criteria can be found on the Applying section.

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.