Language Talent Programme Ref. 2626

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Languages: Mandarin, Russian and Turkish 
Location: Cheltenham and Manchester
Duration: 11 Week Internship (26th June – 8th September 2023)
Salary:  £25,290 (pro-rata) 

About Us

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 MI5 and MI6 to safeguard Britain's people, interests, and businesses from threats such as serious organised crime, people and drugs trafficking, terrorism and cyber-attacks.

The Role

At GCHQ we 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 students held at our offices in Cheltenham (and Manchester for Mandarin). You’ll be a fully supported member of the team, using your language skills to contribute directly to our work and make a real difference.

Your language skills and cultural knowledge will be central to all the work you do while on your placement with us. 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) and assessing data for intelligence value using bespoke analytical tools and techniques. You could also be involved in 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 fulfil its goals.

About You

We’re looking for talented, flexible and committed individuals from all backgrounds. You’ll currently be an undergraduate in your final year of studying Mandarin, Russian or Turkish and be on course to develop the high-level language skills we need OR you will have graduated within the last 3 years with a 2:2 and above. You’ll have an interest in using your language in your career and be keen to develop your skills. Although you may not already have a technical background, you’ll be open to learning new technical skills to complement your language ability. 

GCHQ 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. 

Training and Development 

GCHQ has 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 fulfil 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 mentors. 

At the end of the scheme, you’ll have the opportunity to sit the graduate-level entry 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.  

Rewards and Benefits

While on the internship, you’ll receive a total salary of £25,290 (pro-rata) over 11 weeks. Applicants who pass the end-of-programme graduate-entry language tests and assessment centre, and who are made and accept an offer of employment at our agency, will receive a starting salary in excess of £30,000.

Other benefits include: 

-    5.5 days annual leave
-    Our Cheltenham office has facilities such as a subsidised gym and restaurant, and on-site coffee bars.
-    Accommodation in Cheltenham is offered at £145.00 per week per room which includes utilities, internet access and council tax contributions.
-    Our Manchester office has an excellent city centre location with multiple transport links

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 wellbeing, 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 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.

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, 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.

We’re Disabilit
y 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:

•    Strong motivation for applying to work for a UK intelligence agency
•    A demonstrable high level of your chosen language by achieving a pass in our language tests

Eligibility Criteria

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, GCHQ 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, 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. 

What to Expect

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

•    Initial application and eligibility sift
•    In-person language tests which will take place in Cheltenham and London (we will ask you to choose the location most convenient for you)
•    An in-person interview and a preliminary vetting chat

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 continue any current employment until you have received your final job offer. We will be able to reimburse travel expenses.

Our 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 must 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. 

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.