Somali Language Specialists Ref. 2668

Mind Achieving Impact AwardSocial Mobility Foundation AwardThe Times Top 100Disability confident leaderThe Prince's Responsible Business

Full-time and part-time opportunities (flexible working hours available)
£30,831 (rising to £33,831 after successfully completing a 6 month probationary period)

At GCHQ we unlock the complex world of data and communications to keep the UK and it's 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 emphasis on teamwork.

The Role

The work of our Language Specialists helps to identify and counter threats to the UK’s national security.

We’re looking for Somali linguists for a role that goes beyond translation and transcription. It takes knowledge of culture, history and politics to drive forward effective change and understand a threat. If you can do that, you can enable the UK intelligence agencies to make the right choices to help safeguard national security.

You’ll use your language and analytical skills to provide intelligence insights that often have direct impact on UK government policy and decision making. Your challenge is to seek out important information from Somali language material and make that material accessible and understandable to others. You’ll play an active role in directing projects and driving forward investigations, working right at the heart of intelligence. It’s gripping work, which will draw on your judgement, people skills and linguistic and cultural expertise every step of the way.

You’ll work as an integral part of an operational team and be the first line of assessment, triaging Somali language material against customer requirements to identify reportable intelligence to progress operations or shape and influence Government policy.  

Whatever your career path, you’ll be part of a community of dedicated and talented Language Specialists, working together to really make a difference.

About You

We’re looking for people with a skill in Somali language.  Your language ability could have come from growing up in a multi-lingual family, undergoing language training in the military, or you may well have studied Somali to a higher level elsewhere.

Your linguistic skills need to be complemented by good knowledge of Somalian culture, history, religion and politics. You also need to combine this with an analytical, enquiring mind, possess good judgement and effective people skills. To ensure you pass our language tests, you’ll need to be able to comfortably read newspaper articles and understand news broadcasts in Somali. You’ll be able to translate from Somali into clear, well-drafted English.

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 we’re committed to helping you to fulfil your potential.  You’ll receive a structured comprehensive training and development package in language, analysis and communications technology. Training 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. Upon joining us you’ll be allocated a development partner who will be on hand to provide you with all the guidance and support you’ll need. There’s an expectation that you’ll remain within the language area of the business for 5 years. To help keep your language skills up to date, you’ll have the opportunity to attend internal and external language training. Upon developing your language proficiency, you’ll have the opportunity to join the language capability framework which offers additional allowances to reward your skills.  

Rewards and Benefits

You’ll receive a starting salary of £30,831 (which includes a concessionary payment). Upon successful completion of the 6-month probationary period you’ll be eligible for an additional payment of £3,000 p.a. in recognition of your language skill. Other benefits include: 

•    25 Days Annual Leave automatically rising to 30 days after 5 years' service, and an additional 10.5 days 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 Cheltenham, 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. 

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

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 in Cheltenham or London
•    In-person interview and analysis test in Cheltenham

Please note, you must successfully pass each stage of the process to progress to the next.  You application may take around 6 – 9 months to process including vetting, so we advise you to continue any current employment until you’ve received your final job offer. You may also be required to undergo a hearing test for this role. 

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.