Careers in Defence – MI5, MI6 & GCHQ

Careers in Defence – MI5, MI6 & GCHQ


MI5, MI6 & GCHQ may have different remits, but we have one mission – to keep the people and interests of the UK safe, at home and overseas.


MI5 Mission

Is to keep the country safe. For more than a century we have worked to protect the UK from a range of threats, whether it be from terrorism or hostile activity by states.



MI6 Mission

Is to work secretly around the world to make the UK safer and more prosperous. For over 100 years MI6 has ensured the UK and our allies keep one step ahead of our adversaries. We are creative and determined – using cutting-edge technology and espionage.



GCHQ Mission

As a world-leading intelligence, cyber and security agency GCHQ’s mission is to keep the UK safe. Their brilliant people use cutting-edge technology, technical ingenuity and wide-ranging partnerships to identify, analyse and disrupt threats to the UK.


The work is varied and each day I face new challenges. I never know what my next task will be, and when a critical requirement comes in, I can feel my adrenaline pumping the same way it used to in the field.

We recruit all types of people for all different roles and development programmes throughout the year. Read on to find out how one of our staff members joined the UK Intelligence Services after their time within the military…


“I joined the military straight out of school. After nine years of service, I needed more of a work-life balance. I love adventure and was worried that leaving the Army could mean the end of an exciting career. But when I was looking at my options, I came across the recruitment pages for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, the UK Intelligence Services.

After reading everything, the Intelligence and Data Analyst Development Programme (I&DADP) excited me the most, and I was keen to apply. It’s a graduate programme, and although I didn’t do A-Levels or have a degree, I was eligible because I had equivalent work experience. My time in the military gave me confidence during the application process, especially at the assessment centre where they test how you solve problems and make evidence-based decisions. These are two really important requirements for the job of protecting the UK. Fast-forward through a few more application and vetting steps, I was delighted to be offered a place on the programme.

All the training and learning about the unique analytical tools was rigorous, but with the help of expert trainers I became a fully-fledged analyst. And my development didn’t stop there. There’s a culture of continuous growth that encourages individual learning pursuits, benefitting ourselves and our future careers. What’s great is how many opportunities there are to move around and get promoted within the services, and my mentor has been supportive in helping me to achieve my personal goals.

The work is varied and each day I face new challenges. I never know what my next task will be, and when a critical requirement comes in, I can feel my adrenaline pumping the same way it used to in the field. It’s not something that happens every day of course, but it’s amazing to know I have a team of supportive, experienced people around me to deliver such mission-critical work together.

It’s clear to see that the agencies are committed to our wellbeing. The things I saw in the military have stayed with me, and I’m grateful for the ongoing support and understanding of the wellbeing team, my mentor and my manager who have helped me to process those events. More than anything since joining, I’ve felt part of something special. Just like in the military, our teams are dedicated to the organisation’s mission of keeping the UK safe.”


If you’re interested in hearing more about our upcoming roles or making an application, please consider signing up to the Early Careers Network or visiting the official organisation websites to find out more about current vacancies. Vacancies open throughout the year.

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