Project Manager

GCHQ has a good reputation as a major employer in the Cheltenham area and I already knew someone who worked here, so I was prepared for the security vetting – which can take up to six months. But the work also sounded interesting and it offered a new challenge in a very different industry. I’d been at my previous employer for quite a few years, so I knew who to go to if I needed to get things done. Here, I didn’t have those contacts, so it took a bit of time to build my network. But people are friendly and if you ask, they’re usually more than happy to help. Then again, it’s a good idea to take the option of having a ‘buddy’ when you first join. You can ask them about anything – and believe me, there’s plenty to ask! People are trusted to get their work done and the results can be brilliant. Most people have a can do attitude, which is great. There are all sorts of training opportunities too. The head of profession team really want you to succeed and they’ve let me know about various courses, including APM and PRINCE2. This is a very different industry to my previous role, so the biggest challenge was learning about different technologies. I’ve been on quite a few courses and, although I thought I was an experienced PM before I came here, I’ve learnt new techniques. It’s been both fun and rewarding. I’ve enjoyed the chance to travel to other sites, which has given me a far better understanding of how the broader estate works. It also gave me contacts on the ground and a better idea of the issues they face. It’s great to work in an organisation that looks after its people. It’s a really pleasant place to work and there’s a good team atmosphere, which helps us to achieve. We work hard, but also find time to play, going out for team drinks, breakfast and even an afternoon’s clay pigeon shooting. People are friendly and, although the building takes a bit of time to get used to, there are coffee shops, a canteen, a couple of shops, and there’s also a huge variety of clubs and societies you can join. In particular I’ve enjoyed the sailing club, and had the opportunity to represent the Department in the Inter Departmental Offshore Regatta. Other people I know have taken up things as diverse as squash and language classes. In fact, there’s a huge mix of people doing ALL sorts of things. Some very theoretical and others very practical. Some things needing to be done ‘NOW’, while others are more of a slow burn. There’s such a wide variety of opportunities.

Departments and Roles at GCHQ