Data Collection Development Programme Ref. 2773

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Cheltenham, Yorkshire, Bude, Scarborough

About Us

At GCHQ, we unlock the complex world of data and communications to keep the UK and its citizens safe, both in the real world and online.  Working closely with our British Intelligence partners in MI5 and MI6, we protect the UK from threats including serious organised crime, terrorism, and cyber-attacks.  A role in GCHQ means you’ll have varied and fascinating work in a supportive and encouraging environment that puts the emphasis on teamwork.

The Role                

GCHQ is offering you an exciting opportunity to join our organisation on our Data Collection Development Programme. 

Our 18-month programme takes new entrants through a training programme (classroom based and, on the job,) to learn how to operate the systems we use to acquire data. This data underpins our intelligence missions across our organisation so is crucial to our work.

You’ll be at the forefront of collecting data and providing this to analysts fighting terrorism, Cybercrime, or Serious Crime, in support of government priorities, partners and allies. You’ll have a fantastic opportunity to analyse cutting edge technologies and work across multiple data accesses, to meet UK intelligence requirements. The role requires you to have the capability to monitor and check data processing and to respond quickly to change. 

All successful candidates will undergo a set training programme, and will be based at their preferred choice of ‘home’ location (Cheltenham, Bude, Scarborough or Yorkshire).  You’ll need to commit to a timetable of essential training.  There will be a requirement to travel to Cheltenham and other locations as part of your training.  During the initial stages of the programme (the first 3 months or so), you’ll be studying and working mainly set hours. When you’re needed to work away from your ‘home’ location we’ll fully support you by providing accommodation, transport options, and expenses.  We’ll always try to arrange any training that is away from your ‘home’ location around school holidays etc, understanding that we all have needs outside of work.

After the initial 3 months of training, you’ll be allocated to a team in your ‘home’ location and you’ll undergo further specialist training and development which will be specific to your new team.  

We’re recruiting two separate cohorts,  one starting in November 2023 and a second starting in April 2024.

About You

We’re looking for individuals with a genuine curiosity and interest in technology, and the willingness to take that interest further. You don’t need to have a technical background as we’ll  teach you everything you need to know. However, you’ll need Maths and English at GCSE grade 4 (C) or above, or an equivalent qualification. 

You’ll spend a lot of the role working with others,  so you’ll need to be someone who enjoys collaborating, sharing insights, and learning every day. And, you’ll be comfortable taking on-board technical information and putting it into practice. Importantly, you’ll be a problem-solver; someone who takes a pragmatic approach to finding innovative solutions.

Training and Development

You’ll be taking part in a bespoke development programme aimed at providing you with a broad understanding of our work. This covers the first 18 months of your employment.  After the initial 3 month training period you’ll move to a permanent role where you’ll follow a more specialist training path.  At the 12 month stage (depending on your progress) you’ll be invited to apply for promotion, which is subject to an interview and assessment process. After promotion, you’ll remain in that role for a further three years.

Throughout the programme itself, you’ll be fully supported. You’ll be mentored and supported by a buddy and as a member of your training group, you’ll receive support from your line manager as well as colleagues. 

You’ll receive a starting salary of £23,988 plus other benefits including:
-    25 Days Annual Leave automatically rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5-day public and privilege holidays
-    Opportunities to be recognised through our employee performance scheme
-    Interest-free season ticket loan (travel and parking)
-    Excellent pension scheme
-    Cycle to work scheme
-    Facilities such as a gym, restaurant, and on-site coffee bars (at some locations)
-    Paid parental and adoption leave 

Equal Opportunities

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, ages, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, 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 such as women, those from an ethnic minority background, people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Find out more about our culture, working environment and diversity on our website:

Before You Apply

To work at GCHQ, you need to be a British citizen or hold dual British nationality. You can read our full eligibility criteria here.

This role requires the highest security clearance, known as Developed Vetting (DV). It’s something everyone in the UK Intelligence Community undertakes. You can find out more about the vetting process here.

Please note we 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.

The role is based in GCHQ, so you’ll need to live within a commutable distance. Please consider any financial implications and practicalities before submitting an application, as we do not offer relocation costs.

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. You should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member. 

What to Expect

Our recruitment process is fair, transparent, and based on merit. Here is a brief overview of each stage, in order:

•    On-Line Application
•    Shortlisting
•    Online competency-based Interview

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process to progress to the next. Your application may take around 6 - 9 months to process including vetting, so we advise you to continue any current employment until you have received your final job offer.

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 offer a person-to person interview to any candidate who self-identifies as disabled and meets the essential criteria for the role.  This is our “offer of interview” (OOI).  To secure an interview for this vacancy, the essential criteria (in order of application process) are: 

•    Demonstrate motivation for the role and a commitment to training/self-development – assessed in the application form sift
•    A minimum of 2 GCSE’s Grade 4 (C) or above in maths and English or equivalent

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.