Maths and Cryptography Summer Students Ref. 2616
We are GCHQ, 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 Britain’s people, interests, and businesses from threats such as serious organised crime, people and drugs trafficking, terrorism and cyber-attacks.
GCHQ is keen to invest in enhancing your talent and maths skills. On our maths summer students placement, you’ll get an insight into how GCHQ uses innovative technologies, and work on projects which are of real, operational interest to our organisation. The maths summer placement is a nine-week paid scheme, for mathematics undergraduates. The 2023 summer scheme will run from Monday 26th June until Friday 25th August.
Working closely with and supported by mentors, you’ll work with other students from the placement to collaboratively conduct innovative research. You’ll help deliver on projects which will require the application of a variety of different areas of mathematics. In the past, tasks have included assessing cryptographic algorithms, analysing complex data sets, developing new statistical tools and researching various areas of maths to ensure that British Government communications are secure. You could also be involved in programming high performance computers.
The role is based in Cheltenham, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application. Optionally, we will arrange temporary accommodation for you close to GCHQ and with other summer students, which would be paid in arrears from your salary.
You need to be a current undergraduate studying for your first degree (Bachelors, Masters or equivalent) in mathematics, or a Joint Honours subject with mathematics as the main component. By the start date of the placement, you’ll have completed a minimum of three taught years of your degree (or equivalent for part-time courses) and should be on track to achieve a 2:1 qualification at the end of your degree. (Note that Scottish foundation year does not count towards the minimum three taught years).
You’ll already have at least an 'A' in A-Level Maths (or equivalent).
We’ll look for evidence of a sound mathematical grounding and ability, although we don’t require specialisation in any particular areas. Previous programming experience is useful but not essential. You’ll also have a love for solving problems.
Training and Development
At GCHQ we’re proud of our inclusive and supportive working environment. We want you to have opportunities to develop and will therefore set you problems in areas where you’re likely to have little existing knowledge. We’ll provide training in the relevant mathematical topics and programming skills required for the placement. You will be supported by experienced members of our Maths community throughout your time with us.
The scheme will give you a unique opportunity to gain an insight into our ways of working and you will gain skills and experience through coaching and mentoring from our current mathematicians. In the future, you may want to consider some of our permanent opportunities - our summer placement will give you a good introduction to where your career could take you.
You’ll receive a salary of £25,290 (pro-rata, over the 9-week programme this equates to £4,377) plus other benefits including:
- 4.5 Days Annual Leave
- Opportunities to work flexibly, subject to business needs
- Facilities such as a subsidised gym and restaurant, and on-site coffee bars
Culture and Working Environment
As part of our team, you’ll discover an inclusive workplace that’s welcoming, supportive and encouraging. You’ll be part of an organisation where people want to support one another and make a difference. Aside from fostering an open culture, we’ve got a range of growing affinity groups. For example:
• Ethnic Minority and gender equality networks
• Groups supporting well-being, mental health, neurodiversity and disability
• Faith/No Faith communities for staff to come together
• LGBTQ+ support networks
You’ll also find a variety of sports, activity, interest and social groups to help you settle in and connect with people with similar interests.
Before You Apply
To work at GCHQ, you need to be a British citizen. We do have a strict drugs policy, so once you start your application, you can’t take any recreational drugs and you’ll need to declare your previous drug usage at the relevant stage.
Honesty and integrity are really important if you want to work at GCHQ. Take some time to read about the vetting process and make sure you meet the criteria in the vetting pages of the ‘How to Apply’ section. The process can take some time, but this is just because it’s thorough. Giving misleading information and omitting or concealing information during the recruitment and vetting process is viewed very seriously.
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 the UK will impact on our ability to progress your application.
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, ages, ways of thinking and those with disabilities or neurodivergent conditions. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from everyone, including those from groups that are under-represented in our workforce.
We’re Disability Confident
GCHQ are proud to have achieved Leader status within the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme. This is aimed at encouraging employers to think differently about disability and take action to improve how they recruit, retain and develop disabled people. Being Disability Confident, we aim to ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview where practicable; this is known as ‘Offer of an Interview’. To secure an interview for this vacancy, the minimum criteria (in order of application process) are:
• Have at least a grade ‘A’ in Maths at A-Level (or equivalent)
• Be a current undergraduate studying for your first degree (Bachelors, Masters or equivalent) in mathematics, or a Joint Honours subject with Mathematics as the main component
• By the start date of the placement, you must have completed a minimum of three taught years of your degree (or equivalent for part-time courses)
• You must be on track to achieve a 2:1 qualification at the end of your degree
To be eligible to apply, you must be a British Citizen. One of your parents must be a British Citizen or must have the nationality or citizenship from our approved list of countries (for more info link to website / job description). If you hold dual nationality, of which one component is British, you will nonetheless be considered (for more info link to website /job description). 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.
You can apply at the age of 17 years, 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 "How to Apply" section.
What to Expect
Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here is a brief overview of each stage, in order:
• Application Form Sift
• Competency-based Interview, including a short presentation and a technical section testing your mathematical aptitude. Interviews will take place virtually.
Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process in order to progress to the next. Your application may take around 4-6 months to process, including vetting.
To work in this role, you will need the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community has to go through and it can take some time. As part of the DV process you will be asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire and attend an interview with a vetting officer. In your interview the vetting officer will have a thorough, compassionate and honest discussion with you about you as a person and your life experiences, to ensure holding a DV clearance is right for you. You don’t need to do any preparation for your vetting interview, just be honest and be yourself. All applicants for DV are treated impartially and consistently, irrespective of gender, race, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics.
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.
To start an application, please click on the 'Submit' button below.
This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.