I Can At MI5 logo

I Can At MI5

No more ‘I can’t’.
Take a breath, reconfigure.
Say ‘I can’,
Then make it bigger.
I can earn while I learn,
And learn from the best.
Even without a degree,
I can arrive at the heart of national security.
Where I know I belong.
Because there’s value in the view that only I can see.
And they say it’s better for them if I just do me.
So I am and I do and
I can.

You can do the most important work there is, here at MI5.

Yes, You Can

If you want to do a job that really matters, and where you matter too, MI5 has a role for you. Straight after school, you can help keep the country safe in a role like no other. Here, you’ll be part of our fascinating, vital and unique work. Protecting the lives of over 66 million people. Countering terror and combating espionage. As the threat evolves, you’ll help us adapt and stay one step ahead. You’re the next generation of brilliant new talent. We’re MI5 and we want you on our team.

School might be done
But I’m just getting started.
Got my GCSEs and taken a leap,
Now I’m in deep, unfolding the opportunity,
Here on the inside
Of national security.
Checking and sending vital papers,
I am the pillar that holds up many investigations.
There are secrets I’m trusted to keep
And with my eye on the detail
I’ll help find the answers they seek.
I knew I could,
So I am and I do and
I can.

You can do the most important work there is, here at MI5.

Why be an Admin Officer?

You’ll make a name for yourself on the team that supports our every move. From booking travel and planning meetings to keeping your eye on the detail, while you’re keeping it all confidential. If your passion and ability shine through, we’ll give you every opportunity to take your career where you like at MI5.  Your first full-time role will lead to great things at the heart of national security.

Admin Officer
A day in the life
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Admin Officer – Day in the Life 

Like most other people, my day starts by jumping in the shower before anyone else does! I leave around the same time as my flatmates, so rather than all using the toaster at the same time, I grab a croissant or something on my way in. 

I’m usually in the office by 9.15ish, unless I’ve got a meeting that starts a bit earlier. Walking into the MI5 building never gets old. It’s one of those real ‘pinch me’ moments. You have to remember that you really do work here! I’ll quickly grab a tea and head to my desk. 

I’m an Admin Officer in Operational Support. It’s such a varied job, so it would be impossible to list everything I do. But, in a nutshell, I make sure everyone has what they need to keep operations running smoothly. First on my list of things to do today is to prep for a call with a police colleague. We’ve been working together for a few weeks, testing some new functionality and collecting feedback. 

I get to work with loads of different people – everyone from finance and recruitment, to information management and training teams. It means I get an insight into lots of different parts of MI5, so I’m learning really quickly.

It’s an important job, but things never just fall to me. It’s all a team effort! And I even have a development partner who’s there to coach me. She introduces me to people I’ll need to work with, shows me how to do key tasks and supports me the entire time. I’m never just thrown in at the deep end.

Even though my job’s important, it’s not as consuming as I thought it would be. I get involved in all the usual chat you’d expert – there’s such a great office vibe. You’re always bound to hear someone talking about the Thai they had last night or the lunch they can’t wait to have. Although in all honesty, that’s usually me!

In the afternoon, I’ll spend some time tweaking my write-ups. I normally do this with an Intelligence Officer. Another pair of eyes is always good as it helps to make sure that everything’s spot on. And I’ll often have meetings with my manager. We chat about how I’m doing, and how I want to develop. I recently mentioned that I’d like to shadow a Mobile Surveillance Officer. And after a bit of diary management and team organisation, we got it booked in. Most things are possible – within reason, of course!   

And before I know it, the working day’s done. Around 5.30, I log off and usually meet up with some friends from around MI5. Last week, my induction group went to a street food festival which was amazing. And next week, my team are going to Southbank to catch a movie. There’s always something going on. 

Straight out of school,
I’m the new generation.
An apprentice of tomorrow
That’s my motivation.
At innovation’s forefront,
And tech’s cutting edge,
I can earn while I learn
Because it’s my time, it’s my turn.
Shutting down espionage, countering terror,
Doing what’s important, in a role like no other.
Outthinking, outsmarting, unleashing
The power of my mind.
They’re right when they say I’m one of a kind.
66 million people in the UK –
And more –
I want to keep them safer than ever before.
So I am and I do and
I can.

You can do the most important work there is, here at MI5.

Why be a Software Engineer Apprentice?

You’ll learn some incredible skills. From creating new apps that track terror suspects, to developing innovative ways to stop espionage in its tracks. On our apprenticeship programme, you’ll earn while you learn, and you’ll get fantastic opportunities to grow and progress. Here’s where we’ll fast-track your future at the cutting edge of innovation.

Software Engineer Apprentice
A day in the life
View Audio Transcripts

Software Engineer Apprentice – Day in the Life 

I’m usually up and out by about 7.45am, which is a bit later than my housemates. It helps me to avoid the queue for the shower and gives me an extra 5 minutes sleep. These things make all the difference!
I stick a podcast on while I’m on the tube, or just listen to some music. It’s quite nice to have some ‘me’ time before the day gets started. And once I’m in work, I grab some porridge from our canteen. Or a bacon sandwich if I feel like a treat! 

As an apprentice, my week varies between learning days and working days. For me, it’s the perfect balance of knowing what’s coming up, while still having a bit of variety. It keeps things interesting and fresh.

On my working days, I shadow different teams and learn all the practical skills I need. I can’t say too much about what I do. But I can tell you that I’m working on projects to turn my ideas into new tools for the Intelligence Officers and Data Analysts here. All apprentices get stuck in – we’re valued as much as anyone else. I get to grips with lots of different tech and try to push the boundaries. There’s a really big focus on innovation. We get involved with development challenges and it’s exciting to try and do something no-one else has.  

I usually have a quick break and some sort of caffeine hit at around 11am. At this point, the team I’m shadowing check in with me and make sure I’m doing ok. Everyone’s so friendly - you really feel like there’s no such thing as a silly question.     

At lunchtime, I sometimes go for a run with the other apprentices. It’s nice to have the time to get some fresh air by the river. I’m catching up with some of my induction cohort today and finding out how they’re settling in too. It’s good to know I’m not the only one finding my feet settling in! Especially as we can’t talk to our family about what we’re working on.

After lunch, I brush up on the techniques I’ve learnt and run through all my findings with someone in the team. I normally have a chat with my line manager about how I’m getting on. It’s a good chance to think about what I’ve learnt and how I can push myself. 

And just like that, the day’s done! At 5pm a few of us usually head out for an hour or so. There’s so much to do round here. Museum lates, crazy golf, secret cinemas… you name it, we’ve done it – or we’re getting around to it. But more often than not, we end up grabbing some food. Everyone in the team always comes up with a new place to try, so it would be rude not to! 

It’s really strange to think I only finished my A-Levels not that long ago. I never imagined that I could go on to do this sort of work. It’s so meaningful - you really feel like you’re doing some good. And I’m learning the whole time and making such good friends along the way. It’s such a win, win.

Cyber Apprentice

Bring your background and unique insights to our two year Level 4 Cyber Apprenticeship. We want you to share your ideas and apply your strengths to deliver innovative solutions. We’ll provide the training and support you’ll need, so you’ll have the freedom to show us what you can do. Time to unlock the next level.

Myth Busters

We’ll be straight with you. Yes, some of the challenges we face can be tough. But that doesn’t mean what we do is always stressful. Like anywhere else, we have lots of ‘normal’ days. And just remember, you’ll never be left on your own - there’s a real sense of all being in it together. So you can always lean on your managers, mentors and team.

To do what we do, we need lots of different perspectives, opinions and thoughts. It’s the only way we can solve problems. So there’s no one ‘type’ of person we employ. It just wouldn’t make sense. We’ve actually won lots of awards for our inclusive culture. If you’re open to learning and making a difference, you’ll fit right in.

There’s no denying that our work is serious, but that doesn’t mean our culture is. We’re so friendly – we promise! There’s no old-school hierarchy or calling people by their surnames. Everyone’s important, so everyone’s treated the same. It makes it a really collaborative and supportive place to work. There’s no such thing as an unfriendly person at MI5. It’s just not who we are.

We’re not really that interested in your age (we mean that in the nicest way possible). As long as you’re over 18, your age just doesn’t come into it. We’re interested in your talent and passion for learning. We have people of all ages and with all sorts of experience working across MI5. For some, working here is their first job. So just concentrate on your potential, because that’s what we’re focused on.

Parents and Guardians

At MI5, we keep the country safe. It means we offer some really varied, interesting and unique careers. That’s what the TV shows do get right. But sometimes we’re portrayed as a dangerous place to work, or a place that only employs one type of person. While that might be the case in fictional drama, it’s definitely not the real us. We’ve got lots of opportunities, for lots of different people. And that includes school-leavers. 

We actually take on people from the age of 18, and we offer a range of apprenticeships, internships, graduate schemes and entry-level roles. And once you’re in MI5, you can job-shadow other teams to learn what they do, and, after a few years, even move into other roles. A lot of people go on to have many different careers all under one roof.

But it’s not all work, work, work. It’s such a collaborative and social place that people quickly make friends for life. Our personal interests outside of work are really important to us. We’ve got a range of societies where everyone can get to know each other better and share their passions. These help us create our inclusive culture, where employees can be themselves and share their ideas.

So what are we after? All we’re looking for is someone who’s keen to learn and has potential. With this, we teach our employees everything they’ll need to know. We run a thorough induction scheme where all new starters can meet and learn about MI5. And no matter the role, there’ll be plenty of training and lots of team support. Everyone is assigned a ‘buddy’ to help them settle in. And we have a dedicated team on site to give security advice. Looking after our staff is our top priority.

That’s partly why our recruitment process takes longer than other companies. We ask candidates to go through Developed Vetting (DV). It’s our way of getting to know everyone who works here and making sure they won’t be vulnerable. Don’t worry, a dedicated and experienced Vetting Officer will be on hand to answer any questions they have and support them through the process. Our recruitment team will be in touch with them too. They’ll make sure they know what to expect next and update them about their application.

While the process is a little longer, we promise we’re worth the wait. But don’t just take our word for it. Visit our careers site to hear from real school-leavers and find out more information.     

Arrow drawn on the floor