How to apply

You’re keen to join our CyberFirst world and we want to support you. Here, you’ll find out all about our application steps, our vetting process, and all our top tips to help you prepare

Supporting everyone’s success

As a Disability Confident employer, we ensure that a fair and proportionate number of disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for this position will be offered an interview. This is known as the Offer of Interview (OOI). To secure an interview for this role, candidates applying under the scheme must meet the minimum criteria, outlined on the job description, and opt into the scheme as part of the application form. When applying to the bursary, our selection processes are the same for everyone.

Through the use of positive action we do not seek to remove competition, rather allow everyone the same level of opportunity to apply. The final selection is always made on the merit of the application and we would love to hear from people from all backgrounds.

Making Adjustments

We try to accommodate the reasonable adjustments you may need across both campaigns, with some suggestions below. Just make sure you let us know.

During Assessment

  • Extra time at assessment centres
  • Hard-copy print outs (with tailored fonts and coloured paper)
  • Braille versions of our materials
  • Speech-to-text enabled laptops
  • A reader for any tests
  • A scribe to write for you
  • A sign language interpreter
  • Virtual or in-person interviews

After you join

  • Assistive software
  • Digital pens
  • Screen readers
  • Braille keyboards
  • Desk adjustments

Our Application Steps

Click on the numbers below to find out more about each stage of our assessment process.
Check your eligibility

Our Find your programme section on the homepage will help you work out which programmes you’re eligible for. Fun fact: if you’re eligible for both programmes, you’re welcome to apply for both. Please note that the degree apprenticeship is not open for applications in 2023. See the degree apprenticeship page for more details.

Fill in the online application form

We’re accepting applications for the university bursary from September to November 2023. As you complete our online application, confirm your name, nationality, where you live, your age, academic qualifications and expected grades. You can also say more about yourself in your own words. And you can save your application and come back to it, if you need to.

Complete the online exercise

Next, once you’re successfully completed your application for the university bursary, you’ll be sent a link with an invitation to take part in our online exercise. We’ll test your aptitude, your interest and what you might know already. It sounds daunting, but previous applicants have really enjoyed this part of the application process. Our top tip is to try these practice exercises. Use the code: CyberFirst_Trial_2023 when you register.

Attend the virtual assessment centre

Then, you’ll be invited to the virtual assessment centre for the university bursary between January and February 2024.

This comprises of an interview and a short exercise. We try and make it as relaxed as possible so we get to see the real you. Good luck!

Receive a conditional offer

If you do well in your assessment for the university bursary, we’ll give you a conditional offer at the end of February 2024. This will be dependent on passing security clearance and gaining the required grades in your exams, if you haven’t already.

Vetting begins

You’ll find more on why we need vetting in the next section, but for now, please note that bursary students will only need Security Check vetting (point 7) while apprentices, who’ll be based on site at GCHQ, will need Developed Vetting (points 7-9).

Fill in the online vetting questionnaire

Vetting helps us check we can trust you with sensitive data. The questionnaire will explore your character and your personal circumstances.

Criminal record checks [Certain roles only]

For roles that need higher security clearance, we’ll check your records to make sure you’re eligible to work in a secure organisation.

Vetting interview [Certain roles only]

For roles that need higher security clearance, you’ll have an in-depth vetting interview, answering personal questions around all aspects of your life.

Offer and start date

Congratulations! If you’ve passed security clearance and achieved the required grades, we’ll confirm your offer and start date for the university bursary (in September 2024). Please note that the process of vetting for the degree apprenticeship can take up to nine months.

Vetting: The Key Facts

Vetting: The Key Facts

As part of your application for the university bursary, we’ll ask you to take part in Security Check (SC) vetting to meet our clearance requirements. Don’t worry, this is easy to complete. If you’re applying for the degree apprenticeship, we’ll ask you to undergo Developed Vetting (DV), which is a slightly more in-depth process to achieve the clearance you need to work at GCHQ.

Further details on both these clearance levels can be found here

Throughout the process, the vetting team is committed to treating all candidates with respect, regardless of your ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic.

The university bursary has now closed for applications.