The Degree Apprenticeship - Currently Paused

Over the last few years, we have run a massively successful CyberFirst Apprenticeship which has produced high calibre graduates vital to our organisation. However, the world is constantly shifting, and the cyber security landscape constantly evolving.

Therefore, in order to ensure that the scheme continues to deliver the critical edge in capability that it has to date, we are pausing the CyberFirst Apprenticeship to allow us to take stock and review all our early in careers options. It is our intention that the review will be completed in time to restart the scheme with a 2024 campaign, so keep an eye out on our careers website!

About to leave school and wondering what to do next? On the CyberFirst degree apprenticeship, it isn’t about choosing between university and work. With us, you’ll have both: you’ll get a paying job with a prestigious organisation and you’ll earn your degree for free too.

The Key facts

  • A three-year programme, balancing a full-time role and studying for a degree
  • From day one, you’ll have a working role within GCHQ, the UK’s largest intelligence agency
  • You’ll have a starting salary of over £22,000 in your new role
  • You’ll also study for a BSc (Hons) in Cyber Security at a respected UK university
  • As well as paying your salary, we’ll pay all the tuition fees of your degree – avoiding student debt
  • You’ll be based in Cheltenham for the first two years, then in your final year you’ll be recruited to a post, usually in Cheltenham, but occasionally in Scarborough, Bude or Manchester
  • We’ll aim to place you in a full-time role at GCHQ or the NCSC if you successfully complete your degree and apprenticeship
  • You get exactly the same degree as any university student – but with extensive work experience too

What you'll need

  • You don’t need to be a coder, but you do need the drive to learn and the aptitude to protect our digital world
  • To be eligible to apply, you must be a British citizen. One of your parents must be a British citizen or must have nationality or citizenship from our approved list of countries
  • You usually need to have been resident in the UK for 7 out of the last ten years before applying (but we do assess each case individually)
  • We look for exam grades or predictions of BBC at A Level (or equivalent to 112 UCAS points) in any subject

The work you'll do

Every role is different, but here’s an idea of the kind of tasks our apprentices take on:

14 sec

Degree apprentice, Tom

33 sec

Degree apprentice, Elena

17 sec

Degree apprentice, Kitty

44 sec

Degree apprentice, Elena - variety

The friends you'll make

Working at GCHQ, you’ll have a wide range of groups to join, all there to support you:

Affinity Groups

  • Race
  • Gender
  • LGBQT+
  • Religion
  • Disability

Sports Teams

  • Running
  • Climbing
  • Cycling
  • Kayaking
  • And more

Social Groups

  • Cinema club
  • Photography
  • Gaming
  • Writing
  • Knitting
  • And more

The Benefits

  • Healthy work-life balance
  • Continuous training and development
  • Flexible working in most teams
  • On-site welfare and support services
  • Gyms on some sites
  • Onsite restaurants and coffee bars at some sites
  • No dress code – wear what makes you comfortable
  • Childcare vouchers

Why choose cyberfirst?

I didn’t know what to expect, but we’ve been integrated so well within the business. I feel really valued as an apprentice, everyone’s been so supportive.

Isabelle, Degree Apprentice

I’m a practical learner, so the CyberFirst degree apprenticeship provided the perfect opportunity for me to learn in a way that I enjoy.

Elena, Degree Apprentice

Getting to work at a leading cyber security organisation was a big draw for me – and I really liked the idea of earning, learning and getting hands-on experience.

Tom, Degree Apprentice