Procurement Internship Ref. 2358

Disability confident leaderThe Prince's Responsible BusinessSocial Mobility Foundation Award

Apprentices and Interns
Cheltenham, Central London
£26,210 (London) or £23,360 (Cheltenham)

Gain experience you won’t find anywhere else,
on an internship as unique as you.

The role

At MI5 & GCHQ, we protect the UK from threats including terrorism, espionage and cyber crime. It’s important work, so ensuring we have the right products and services to do it is vital. On our Procurement Internship, you’ll spend 12 months with our procurement department, providing essential support to the UK’s intelligence agencies.

During your time with us, you’ll gain a real insight into how our procurement team supports our overall mission. You’ll assist with the delivery of products and services and contribute to the decision-making process. This is a role where you’ll be encouraged to get involved every day.

Some of the things you might do on a day-to-day basis include:

•    Managing supplier contracts to ensure they are meeting customer needs and in doing so, building productive and meaningful relationships.
•    Negotiating with suppliers to deliver best value for our customer.
•    Establishing new procedures and processes which add value and mean we work more effectively.
•    Reviewing processes, recommending improvements and suggesting new approaches.
•    Undertaking project work that will feed into and enhance the way we support the wider mission.

This is a unique opportunity to work with the intelligence agencies and acquire skills and experience relevant to your studies. Throughout the internship, you’ll be guided by a task manager and mentor who’ll shape your personal development and learning. And after six months, you’ll rotate into another area, such as Estates, Technology, and Operations and Overseas, to give you even greater exposure to our work.

Your future with us

Following the internship, we would welcome an application from you for one of our permanent roles to take up after you graduate. Impress us, and there may even be an opportunity to work for us part-time during your final year of university.

To help with your interview and guide you through the process, we’ll invite you to a workshop where we’ll help you to adapt your skills and techniques to our interviews. The offer of a permanent role will be subject to you receiving a minimum 2:2 in your degree. From this point, you’ll embark on a career in procurement like no other. We’ll support you to shape your own future and even fund CIPS training from level 4 upwards.

About you

You don’t need a specific degree or experience to apply, but you’ll be in your penultimate year of university (graduating in 2023/24), have two GCSEs in Maths and English Language at grade A*-C (grades 9-4) and have a genuine interest in the constantly changing procurement environment.

We value qualities such as teamwork, professionalism and diverse thinking. So, you’ll be proactive, have a desire to learn and improve and have good communication and organisational skills. Plus, you’ll be a problem solver with a keen eye for detail, meaning you’ll be able to challenge us on our processes and identify innovative and creative ways to improve.

There’s no specific ‘type’ of person we look for. No matter your background or experience, your perspectives and values will be welcomed. We’ll be looking for you to show us how your unique, individual skills will help us to carry out our critical mission.

Rewards and benefits

You’ll receive a salary of £26,210 (London) or £23,360 (Cheltenham), and other benefits including:

•    25 Days Annual Leave and an additional 10.5 days public and privilege holidays.
•    Opportunities to work flexibly, subject to business needs
•    Interest free season ticket loan
•    Cycle to work scheme
•    Facilities such as a subsidised gym and restaurant, and on-site coffee bars
•    A range of sports, activity interest and social groups  
•    Maternity and paternity leave above the statutory entitlements
•    Rented accommodation loan
•    A mentor to guide you through your development
•    Access to a peer group with other interns you can bond with and learn from

Culture and working environment

Our ethos is one of inclusivity and continuous learning and improvement. From day one, you’ll have the platform and opportunity to share your own thoughts, views and ideas.

We know we have a serious job, but that doesn’t mean that we’re serious all the time. As part of our team, you’ll discover a workplace that’s collaborative, supportive and encouraging. We’re a welcoming bunch and want you to feel comfortable in our relaxed working environment.

We work hard to ensure our people can bring their whole self to work. 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

We pride ourselves on the hard work we undertake to create a diverse workforce. We aspire to a truly diverse procurement function, who draw on each other’s strengths to create a powerful working community.

We want to give our interns the opportunity to be the leaders of tomorrow’s procurement function and bring a fresh set of skills and experience to improve our ways of working.

Before you apply

To join, you need to be a British citizen. 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.

Giving misleading information and omitting or concealing information during the recruitment and vetting process is viewed very seriously.

Due to the sensitive nature of our work, you’ll need to be discreet, and you should not discuss your application, other than with your partner or a close family member. But don’t worry - while you can’t tell your friends what you do, you can continue to use social media and lead a completely normal life.

Equal Opportunities

At MI5 & 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.

We’re Disability Confident

We’re also proud to be a ‘Disability Confident’ organisation and have achieved ‘Leader’ status within the Department for Work and Pension’s scheme. We ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants that meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview, (this is known as Offer of an Interview). To secure an interview for this role, the minimum criteria (in order of application process) are: 

  • Two GCSEs in Maths and English Language at grade A*-C (grades 9-4).
  • In your penultimate year of university (graduating in 2023/24).
  • Completing a Full Application form and passing the sift. Part of this application form will be an online test.

For candidates applying under OOI, results of the online test will not be considered until after interview.
We’ll provide support throughout the recruitment process, including offering a range of reasonable adjustments. Plus, we have a dedicated disability network group which aims to build awareness of disability through internal talks, activities and social events.   

Recruitment process

Our recruitment process is outlined below (in order):

  • Eligibility Questions & Initial Form. You’ll answer a number of questions based on the requirements for the role. To complete an initial registration form, you’ll first need create a personal account. This will mean providing your full name, email address and memorable password. You can then complete the registration form, providing contact details and equal opportunities monitoring information. If you’d rather not supply these details, there is a ‘prefer not to say’ option for each question.
  • Online Cognitive Ability Test. If you meet our eligibility requirements, the next step will be an Online Cognitive Ability Test. We’ll be in touch with more information about this.  
  • Situational Judgement Test. If you pass the Online Cognitive Ability Test, we’ll invite you to complete a situational judgement test that will explore how you respond to different work-place scenarios that may arise during your internship. It reviews how you deal with different scenarios.
  • Full Application Form. If you pass the cognitive ability test, you will be invited to complete an application form. Within this, there will be a situational judgement test that will explore how you respond to difference work-place scenarios that may arise during your internship. The full application will also require you to complete a form, which includes details of your degree and when you graduate, and a 350-word statement that should cover:

        - Why you want a place on our internship.
        - What you will bring to our internship.

  • Interview. We will be assessing you on our core competencies (see below) and exploring your motivation for wanting to work with us.
  • 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. To find out more about the DV process please search our website. 
  • Join the programme. Once you’ve completed the vetting process successfully, you’ll be given your final offer to join us in September 2022.

We understand that this may seem like a daunting process, so the recruitment team will be on hand to guide you throughout. We like seeing our candidates do well, so you’ll be invited along to some online Q&A sessions to see if we can answer any questions you may have at various stages. This includes a session with a vetting officer, where you’ll be able ask us questions about what the vetting process entails.

We have several core behaviours and competencies that we find enable good performance in the role. These include:

-    Working with others.
-    Planning and delivery.
-    Communicating and influencing.
-    Problem solving and judgement.
-    Learning and change.

Successful applicants will be invited to interview which will be taking place between December 2021 and February 2022.

Confirmation of any appointment to a placement will be subject to the student successfully passing through the Developed Vetting process. The vetting process is estimated to take between 16-18 weeks.


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, MI5 & 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 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. 

This Program / Vacancy is closed to applications.