Looking for a Job? DON'T Tell Anyone…

There was a time when the route into the national security and intelligence services was thought to be through a tap on the shoulder by a fellow student or don at one’s Oxbridge college.

How much truth there was in this is debatable but what we do know is that recruitment into both MI5 and MI6, the Security Services, is an open process with advertisements for vacancies placed in the national press and on-line.

Established in 1909 as the Secret Service Bureau, MI5 and MI6 soon grew from modest beginnings to become professional and effective intelligence agencies. MI5, founded by Captain (later Major General) Vernon Kell, played a central role in the capture of most of Imperial Germany’s intelligence agents in the UK at the start of World War I. The department has continued to play a key role in the security of the nation through Word War II , major conflicts and Northern Ireland right through the Cold War. As the Cold War came to an end, terrorist threats from Northern Ireland and states such as Colonel Qadhafi’s Libya became priorities for MI5. Major reforms were put in place and the Service gained its first female Director General. The rise of Islamist terrorism at the end of the 1990s, culminating in the 9/11 attacks in 2001, led to major changes in the way MI5 operated.

MI5 safeguards the United Kingdom against threats to national security including terrorism, espionage, sabotage and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Talented graduates from a range of backgrounds and degrees join MI5 for demanding, stimulating and rewarding careers.

Many graduates join on the Intelligence Officer Development Programme, a structured programme that will cover the first 3-5 years of an Intelligence Officer’s career. Others join as Intelligence Analysts, Foreign Language Analysts or Digital Intelligence Tactical Solutions Developers. Together they work on investigations assessing threats, solving complex digital intelligence problems, manipulating data, spotting connections and identifying patterns. You can learn more about the roles in the Day in the Life section of website www.mi5.gov.uk. A Technology Graduate Development Programme was launched in early 2014 for graduates with a passion for technology. Trainees on this programme will  develop the skills, understanding and competencies required to undertake a range of roles within MI5’s pioneering IT function. The Technology Graduate Development Programme is specifically designed to develop your knowledge and experience in Project Management, Business Analysis, IT Security and IT / Software Engineering.

Following completion of two postings, of approximately one year each, in two of these areas, you will then specialise in one area to deepen your knowledge, hone your technical skills, consolidate your portfolio of work experience and gain a relevant professional qualification. The programme will utilise your analytical, team working, problem solving and communications skills in a dynamic environment, leading to a rewarding career at the very forefront of technology.

The vacancies are varied and many are aimed at graduates.  Others are professional, such as lawyers and accountants, or administrative and even include a need for security guards, carpenters, tradesmen, vehicle technicians and IED and explosive experts. A service career is a positive advantage and desirable for some of the posts. Linguists in several languages are also recruited when required.

Jobs advertised on the department’s website range from mobile surveillance officers, operations managers, intelligence officers and analysts to business support staff and occupational psychologists.

Service personnel will readily understand that the recruitment process is highly sensitive and information about the job application, and if successful your future career, must be kept from all but your closest kin. Working hours are also varied and would be regarded by many as highly anti-social.

Similar vacancies exist in MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service and GCHQ. Today, the UK faces a combination of threats including terrorism, regional instability, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and narcotics smuggling. The    UK intelligence agencies include the Security Service (MI5), theSecret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and they exist to counter these threats and to promote British interests. To meet their objectives these agencies collect, assess, investigate and analyse intelligence, manage operations, run agents, provide technological solutions and use languages.

The three agencies have different but related functions, and the range of mutual assistance is wide. The Security Service (MI5) safeguards UK national security through countering the threat from terrorism, espionage and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The agency also provides security advice to businesses and organisations.

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6) collects secret foreign intelligence to protect the UK’s security and economic well-being. GCHQ uses sophisticated technology to provide intelligence that helps inform national security, military operations and law enforcement activities, whilst protecting the Government’s communication and information systems.

MI5 is one of the many departments that task SIS and GCHQ through the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) to collect certain categories of intelligence. This is intelligence relevant to its functions and supplements its own collection efforts. MI5 is a major customer for intelligence produced by SIS and GCHQ.

Collectively the intelligence community prides itself on an approach based on honesty, integrity, teamwork, professionalism, resilience, objectivity and respect. This is a collaborative working environment where people work together to create effective solutions.

For more information on careers in national security and the recruitment process visit the website www.sis.gov.uk and www.mi5.gov.uk. But remember, keep it quiet!