Our Video Gallery
Learn more about working at MI5 from the people who work here; from the roles they perform to what it’s like working for MI5.
Learn more about working at MI5 from the people who work here; from the roles they perform to what it’s like working for 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
You can do the most important work there is, here at MI5.
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
You can do the most important work there is, here at MI5.
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
You can do the most important work there is, here at MI5.
Hi, I’m Jasmine. A little about me - I’m fascinated by people. Which is why, I studied psychology at uni. But while I was doing my dissertation, I found out I really like working with data. Seeing everything come together to back up my findings was more enjoyable than I ever thought it could be.
So when I saw the job ad for the Intelligence and Data Analyst Development Programme, I decided to give it a go. MI5 seemed less focused on the specific skills you need, and more about the potential that you have and turns out, I got in!
I was immediately put on a bespoke training course with the other new analysts. We learnt about MI5’s unique techniques, data, and how to approach problems. So the fact that I didn’t have loads of experience didn’t seem to be a problem at all.
Before I knew it, I was working on real data related to real MI5 investigations, and I’ve already been part of some fascinating operations. I feel like I’m learning something new every single day as part of an amazing, supportive team.
I just couldn’t think of a better way to start my career.
Hi everyone, I’m Nick. I’m a Media and Comms graduate on MI5’s Business Enabler Entry Scheme.
I know what you’re thinking – media and comms to a business enabler scheme? I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do after uni. I just wanted to do something that was a bit different, interesting and challenging.
MI5 was never on my radar. I didn’t even know they took on graduates to be honest with you. I saw an ad online and decided to find out more. The Business Enabler role really stood out to me because there was just so many things that you could do, there was project management, human resources, finance, training… the list goes on! And I realised that it meant I could really shape my own career.
Currently, I’m a Project Support Officer. Not only did we have some amazing training but I learnt so much from the job and picked up skills that I think I can use at literally any other organisation.
But, for now, I have got my eyes firmly set on other Business Enabler roles at MI5. I love working with people, so perhaps something in training or recruitment. And in the future I’m definitely interested in Agent Handling. Seriously, Google it.
Hi there. I’m Lily, and I’m a chemistry graduate at MI5’s Technology Graduate Development Programme, or TGDP. Let me tell you – I never thought that I could do something like this. But while at uni, I realised I didn’t really want to have a chemistry-focused career. I started looking for jobs where I could use the core skills I picked up doing my degree, but in a totally different way.
Then I found MI5’s TGDP. And let me tell you literally, in the first two weeks, MI5 caught me up to scratch with everything. They’ve been so supportive, and I’m being taught some, literally incredible things. They even paid for me to get formal qualifications relevant to my new job role. And with so many different opportunities around, I really can’t picture myself getting bored here.
As for right now? Let’s just say I’m part of some vital projects that have real-world impact. I’m not just making money for some people I’ve never met before. I’m helping MI5 protect lives, while also getting to work on some pretty cool technology. It’s amazing.
Hiya, Alexis here – I’m a business graduate currently on MI5’s Intelligence Officer Development Programme.
When you join the programme, you start on a two-year placement, but you don’t know where. It ranges from stuff like analysis and digital intelligence through to legal casework and policy roles. My first role was in warrantry. In a nutshell, we prepare and support warrant applications before they get approved by the Home Secretary and Judiciary. It’s so fascinating, as you get to see the background of so many MI5 investigations.
Initially, I was quite nervous. I didn’t have a degree in law. But I soon realised that it didn’t matter as I got all the training I needed. No matter where you’re placed, there’s really nothing to worry about. You get what MI5 call a ‘development partner’, and they’re brilliant. Everyone’s so supportive.
I’ll finish my placement by doing the Foundation Investigative Training and then I’ll be on course to become an actual Intelligence Officer leading investigations.
Before I go, I just want to say one more thing. The programme is so unique. Now I’m here – I just…I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
Our auditors don’t just assess financial controls.
They assess covert surveillance, counter terrorism, agent running, international travel, emerging technologies and cyber threats.
The UK’s entire intelligence community.
So when you join us, you’ll have a huge scope and an even bigger impact.
It’s all yours to audit.
Find out more about joining Internal Audit and Consultancy at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. Apply today.
VO: Authoritative woman in her 30’s. London accent.
Duration: 1 min 30 secs
This is Procurement. But not always as you know it. This is where you put your skills to the test. This is the core of our operations. From Thames House to Vauxhall to Cheltenham, and beyond. Here, what you’ll buy won’t always be ordinary. But even the ordinary could be used in a unique way. Across Technology, Estates, Supply Chain, specialist teams and more. You’ll give us the edge. New products. Unique requirements. It’s complex. It’s challenging. It’s flexible. It’s the tools we need to protect our nation from harm. Be smart. Be innovative. Influence and improve. This is where we work together to do something meaningful. This is where you take your career to the next level. This is the career package of a lifetime. Always with one mission at heart. To keep the country safe. This is Procurement at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
Have you thought about working for MI5?
Do you know what kind of people we employ?
What kind of jobs do we offer?
We're always looking to recruit people with a diverse range of skills and backgrounds.
We have nearly 4,000 staff based around the UK.
The people who work for us reflect the society we serve.
We offer a wide range of jobs - a lot more diverse than people might imagine. From core
investigative and operational roles, including:
To the jobs that keep the organisation on the road:
We need that breadth of skills.
MI5 is responsible for countering covertly organised threats to Britain's security and economic well-being.
Threats that come from terrorism, espionage and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
By far the greatest threat comes from terrorism.
Even though the Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland led to a more peaceful phase in its history there is still an active terrorist threat which MI5 and the Police Service of Northern Ireland work against.
There's an even greater threat from Al Qaida and all those who support its violent ideology:
"There will be daily torment in this world and a greater torment awaits you in the hereafter".
Many of our investigations focus on working to counter those threats.
Take this case from 2006.
Al Qaida was plotting to blow up airliners flying from the UK across the Atlantic.
An individual under surveillance in the UK went to visit an influential member of Al Qaida in Pakistan.
On his return, he led our investigative team to a group in London that was planning an attack in the UK.
MI5's team, which included a number of recent intelligence officer recruits, quickly identified the alleged terrorists. They set about providing covert intelligence coverage of them.
Rachel, 22, Intelligence Officer
"This was the first big operation I worked on, so it was a bit daunting at first. But I had lots of training to prepare me for it, and my mentor made sure I was OK. Looking back I can’t believe I only left university last year".
A team of intelligence analysts and computer network forensic specialists worked to analyse communications between members of the group, providing a unique insight into the progress of the plot.
David, 24, Digital Intelligence Unit
"It was a major challenge to keep up with what intelligence officers needed from us in terms of data analysis. We used state-of-the-art IT to help build a clear picture of what the guys were up to. There was a great camaraderie between all of the team that worked on the case".
In July 2006, it became clear the plot was reaching its final stage.
A flat in Forest Road, Walthamstow, became central to their activities. It became a bomb factory.
It was time to get approval to gain access to the property.
The Home Secretary gave the legal go-ahead.
A technical team, supported by surveillance teams and the police entered the property to install hidden listening devices and CCTV.
John, 53, Surveillance Team Leader
"Following the group was really tricky as they were paranoid about people watching them. We had to use lots of different surveillance officers to make sure we weren’t recognised. It was hard work, but this was the type of stuff I joined MI5 for."
The surveillance had revealed the plotters preparing video testaments. So-called "martyrdom videos" - justification for the acts they were plotting to commit.
"Allah loves us to die and kill in his path."
Amira, 28, Foreign Language Analyst
"Listening to other Muslims planning to kill innocent people in the name of my religion was difficult to hear. My team was able to provide our intelligence officers with a cultural perspective to the group’s behaviour. The operation involved people of all ages and backgrounds working to protect the country. It was MI5 at its best."
All the principal plotters were arrested.
In all, eleven were convicted of either terrorist or other serious offences.
Work on the case continued investigating extremist associates preparing evidence for court, advising the airline industry on how to better protect aircraft.
This is just one case, one example of our teamwork.
For more information about careers at MI5, go to www.mi5.gov.uk/careers
Most of the other people from my geography degree course wanted to join banks and consultancies. But I wanted to do work that would help people rather than being all about profits.
With all the news stories about different threats around the world, helping to keep the country safe definitely resonated with me. And when I discovered that I could gain industry-recognised qualifications on MI5's Technology Graduate Development Programme too, it seemed ideal.
I'm on the business side of the programme - so I use my planning, analytical and problem solving skills to streamline our processes.
It's vital work, because the sophisticated technology behind cyber terrorism, attacks on the national infrastructure and espionage are constantly evolving. And improving the way we work means we can react faster.
I was surprised at how quickly I gained real responsibility - managing projects that involved some very senior people. But I was just as surprised by the amount of time I get to enjoy life outside work.
Most of all, I was impressed by the fact that I could see how my work was having an impacts on MI5's ability to combat terrorist and espionage activities - how much I was contributing to keeping the country safe.
After getting my degree, I start working for a games company.
It wasn't a long-term career choice - I wanted to do more serious, complex work that would stretch my skills. But more importantly, something that I could be genuinely proud of.
That's why MI5's Technology Graduate Development Programme appealed to me - I'm using technology in amazing, innovative ways. And everything we do is helping to keep the country safe from a range of threats.
It's exciting work too. The way terrorists are using technology is changing rapidly, so we have to stay one step ahead by being flexible and ready to act fast.
There's a really strong team atmosphere because we're all working towards the same goal - to keep the country safe. So there's no "cliqueyness", you can just be yourself.
Although you can't tell everyone where you work, the secrecy has its advantages - for instance, you can never take your work home. Which means I have lots of time to follow my other interests away from the office.
When you look at the kind of things that are going on around the world, I'm proud that I'm playing my part in preventing them happening in the UK.
Ever since secondary school, I've enjoyed tackling new technology projects in my spare time. So studying computer science at university was a no-brainer for me.
And my passion for digging deeper into technology and exploring the edge of what's possible were two of the reasons I wanted to join MI5.
I haven't been disappointed. Life as a Covert Technical Operations Specialist is fast-moving and exciting; the technology in incredibly advanced.
And it has to be. Historically, the agency intercepted physical documents. Now we're conducting operations to access the computers and devices used by terrorists planning attacks, and always within our legal remit.
I have to explore and explain the risks. The technology terrorists are using is constantly changing. From SMS just five years ago they are now using a range of platforms to communicate and share information. Some use sophisticated encryption, so we have to think differently.
It means there's a lot of variety - you genuinely don't know what you're going to be working on each day.
It can get quite intense and sometimes I need to work odd hours, but I love my job and I get great training, as well as a good work/life balance.
And I know that what I'm doing has a real impact on keeping the country safe from terrorists, spies and other groups who want to harm the nation.
My career with the security service has been absolutely fascinating. I joined in the mid 80’s and started as an investigator in the counter espionage team. After four years or so, I moved onto counter terrorism, that post was really challenging and I worked on some major international investigations.
Soon afterwards, I got what I have to say was an unexpected promotion to middle management, and I started to deal with policy issues. I ran a training team and managed various project – one where I created a new training facility and another where I mapped it requirements for the services investigation work.
In 2004 I was promoted to the senior management group and became programme director for a major IT change programme. I was in charge of teams containing anything from ten to a hundred people: these included technical specialists, contractors and other members of staff. I learned an awful lot about getting the best out of others and meeting tough goals.
I was appointed to the services management board in 2008 as director of HR and security. This was a really exciting time for me, because the service’s priorities included managing rapid growth and developing a new people strategy to ensure the organisation’s long term effectiveness.
I spent 2010 delivering a joint cost saving agenda for all three security and intelligence agencies: that's MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. And after that I took on my current role as the director of the centre for the protection of national infrastructure. Here i've been involved in a wide variety of work including countering cyber security threats, and preparations for the olympics.
I joined MI5 as an intelligence analyst about 6 years ago. Before that, I worked in academia and briefly in market research in the private sector.
The role is all about problem solving and quantitative analysis – it's not just about number crunching or reporting data. I know that my conclusions can have an impact on the safety and security of our country.
Being an intelligence analyst means thinking creatively, identifying ways my analysis can add value to an investigation, and using my judgment to determine the best way forward.
When one of our intelligence officers comes to me with a problem, I sit down with them to help get to the bottom of what they want to know in the context of the investigation. Once i’ve established this, I can then analyse the data and make an assessment.
I’ve worked on a diverse range of investigations and operations since i’ve been here, all with their own challenges. Sometimes we work to tight deadlines and under pressure, so I might have to turn around an assessment in a matter of minutes. Other work might be more strategic and I might have a few weeks to work on a project or develop a new analysis tool. The variety is a genuine plus.
It can be a fast pace environment, so it helps that everyone is very supportive – from my managers to my fellow analysts. We all have our own areas of expertise – but we’ll happily put what we’re doing to one side to help eachother out on higher priority investigations or operations. It's not really something i’ve experienced in other jobs, but it's one of the things I most like about working here.
I also like the satisfaction you get when you reach a turning point in an investigation and you know it's because of assessments and connections your team has made.
Recently I saw on tv that the police had made some arrests on a long running counter-terrorism investigation. It was great knowing i was involved, even though I couldn't share it with anyone outside the office.
I'm the assistant head of international counter terrorism and the head of MI5’s network of regional officers. I’ve worked for the security service now for over 20 years and the one thing you can say is that I haven't been held back.
I've enjoyed a wide variety of experiences and had a lot of trust placed in me. This is an organisation that really supports its people, and I must say I value that.
When I joined the security service as a young graduate in the late 80s, my first posting was as an intelligence officer in the international counter-terrorism section. Ive also carried out operational work and agent handling – and i've managed investigations into Northern Ireland related terrorism. I've been involved in protective security and i've worked for the services management board.
“Work-life balance” is one of those overused phrases these days, but it really means something here at MI5. For 15 years I worked 3 days a week as I looked after my two children. There’s been no resistance at all to my working patterns and it certainly hasn't blocked my path in terms of promotion. At one point in the mid 90s I was promoted by long maternity leave – in this respect, the service was well ahead of its time.
Im very proud of this organisation and what it does and i'm very proud to work alongside some exceptional people. There really is a great team ethos here and a unique sense of togetherness. It comes from everyone sharing the same goal – protecting the UK.
I'm an intelligence officer in the protective security advice team. Im currently working in the centre for the protection of national infrastructure. I joined the security service because I wanted a job that would really challenge me and make the most of my skills.
I’d studied criminology at university, so I was good at quickly analysing large amounts of data, producing reports and presenting my findings. Joining MI5 seemed like the perfect move.
A typical day for me might involve collecting, assimilating and then analysing intelligence from a variety of sources. I might need to write a report for an external partner or produce minutes for meetings that i've recently attended.
I have regular contact with a number of other government departments. I really enjoy the working environment, its friendly and professional. The standard of the work people here produce is extremely high and my colleagues are all really supportive. My working hours are surprisingly good too. Generally I start at 7.30 and finish at 4.30: which helps with life outside work.
The other thing that really appeals to me is the range of career options available here. The postings are challenging but the training is very comprehensive, and the trainers work hard with you to ensure you get on your feet in the new section as soon as possible. All in all this a unique and very satisfying place to work – I can recommend it wholeheartedly.
I joined the security service seven years ago after a stint in the city as a business advisor. I started as an add nurse assistant and now i’m an intelligence officer in the digital intelligence team. We call it “digant” for short.
I applied for a job at MI5 because I think that working in the public sector; you can really make a difference. Protecting the UK makes me feel like i'm really doing something worth while. And the point of contact for all digital intelligence matters, for the counter espionage section.
I analyse digant data and produce reports on activity for other intelligence officers. Its also my job to identify opportunities where my team can help progress investigations.
The people we investigate are using IT and the internet in more and more sophisticated ways – communicating with each other and sharing information. To be part of the section that disrupts the activities can be very exciting.
You won't be surprised to hear that the training we receive is pretty in depth. On top of the service wide induction I received, my personal development programme for the digant team lasted several months. Since then i've been on loads more courses and workshops. I've developed a real depth of knowledge, the world of IT is ever changing.
I work alongside diverse and interesting people who all have one important goal in mind – protecting our country and way of life. That's why it feels so much like a family.
A film showing a list of roles and tasks that an admin officer would perform to support counter-terrorism, HR and Finance, Operations and Data Analysis, Information Management and Communications and Legal.
Administrative assistants are at the very heart of MI5.
You'll support vital projects, and work across a range of exciting departments.
Day-to-day, you'll demonstrate and develop a range of administrative skills.
With excellent organisational skills, you'll be responsible for booking travel, ordering office essentials and managing information.
You could be organising critical meetings, so you'll become an essential point of contact.
And as a great communicator, you'll answer phone calls and respond to queries.
You could also be greeting both internal and external visitors, so it's really important you're discreet.
You'll need to be motivated, proactive and have an eye for detail.
It's an important job, but you can't take your work home with you.
And because we work flexibly, you'll have a good work-life balance.
You'll quickly settle into our supportive environment, and feel valued by everyone.
After all, you'll be at the heart of MI5.
Behind everything we do, there's you.
A film containing footage of a police emergency, images of convicted terrorists, evidence gathering, a diverse group of graduates, and images of the UK and its people. Caution: flashing images.
So what is MI5 and what do we do?
We are the nation's Security Service.
Our mission is to keep the country safe.
Everything we do is to protect the public from harm.
It takes every sort of person with every sort of skill to deal with the difficult work we have to do.
That's why we need graduates from all kinds of backgrounds to join us.
Together we keep the country safe now and in the future.
This is why we exist.
This is who we are.
Find out what it’s really like to work for MI5
Please note that the characters in the below feature are actors and not MI5 employees.
Job title: Vetting Officer
Taking the leap
“Changing jobs is always a risk. One of my concerns was that I had a senior position where I was, and going from that to not knowing what I was doing was a bit daunting. But, sometimes you just have to take that leap. It helped that I’d developed relevant transfMI5ble skills as a teacher. I made people feel comfortable, encouraged them to trust me and could read their emotions - which are all qualities you need as a vetting officer.”
Talk and travel
“One of the best parts of my job is meeting lots of different people and getting to travel around the UK. It’s really rewarding to talk to lots of individuals about their lives. Not to mention incredibly interesting! Everyone’s story is different, so it’s never boring.”
“You have to be thorough with each and every case. It can be challenging, but the good thing is that you never take your work home with you. Even if you want to, you can’t. It takes a bit of getting used to, but not working at the weekends is great.”
“I always thought it would be a bit elite here – like an exclusive club. But it’s not. It’s very inclusive and there’s so much support. Everyone’s so friendly and down to earth. I had a mentor from the minute I started, and lots of training. And the chance to develop professionally never stops.”
“This role is so rewarding. I know I’m doing something really worthwhile. It’s only my second career, but I really can’t see myself leaving. It’s no surprise that people stay for life.”
Job title: Service Desk Team Leader
“I used to work in logistics where - if you wanted any training - you had to pay for it yourself. But at MI5, you are given the chance to develop your skills in anything from IT and leadership, to technical training and investigative techniques. There’s also the opportunity to be sponsored for formal qualifications. You just can’t beat that.”
“Before I joined, I was really worried about the interview process. I honestly expected everyone to be really intimidating. But they quickly put me at ease, and I realised I didn’t need to be nervous. The people interviewing me were completely normal – just like everyone here.”
“You might earn more in the commercial world, but I found it unrewarding. You were seen as a support function. But IT is at the heart of MI5, and there is an understanding of how crucial our work is. There’s definitely a feeling of mutual respect.”
“Our mission - keeping the country safe - gives you a purpose, a drive. It’s incredibly important. So everyone is very motivated - and they really care. Everything’s done to a really high standard because we’re all focused on the same goal.”
The Best Secret
“Apart from my partner and parents, no one knows what I do. When I go to a party and everyone’s talking about their work, I can’t say a word. At first, it took a bit of getting used to, but it’s surprising how quickly it becomes normal. I just remember it’s a vital part of the job. And inside, I’m incredibly proud to be keeping the country safe.”
Job title: Occupational Psychologist
Not for profit
“What I like about MI5 is its purpose, and that it’s not a profit-making business. I’d also been working from home for a number of years, and missed that sense of being part of a team. Having roots somewhere. And when I did a bit of research on MI5, I was really amazed that they were in the Top 50 ‘Employers for Women’. I loved that. Once I joined, I realised that I wasn’t going to lose the flexibility I’d previously enjoyed.”
“The application process did feel a little mysterious. It’s just there’s limited information about working here. But you understand there are reasons for that. While the process itself was long, I was always kept in the loop by the recruitment team.”
“There’s so much variety here as an OP. It’s an exciting time to join the team as we’re growing, and our work is increasingly in demand across MI5. So far, I’ve done role analysis for opMI5tional roles, and supported recruitment teams in revising how we assess people externally. I’ve also helped train people to become assessors, and given psychometric profile feedback and interviews for selection boards. Not to mention all the really interesting learning and development projects. The team get to collaborate with the other intelligence agencies too.”
“I’ve never worked anywhere that’s so team focused. Everyone is really welcoming, and recognises a job well done - it makes you feel valued. It’s essentially the opposite of a competitive work place. Along the way, I’ve made long-lasting friendships and brilliant working relationships. To the point that when I have meetings, it doesn’t feel like we’re in a business setting. I actually want to see the people I work with.”
“MI5’s values are around innovation and teamwork, which absolutely ring true. It’s a place where you can be innovative. And everyone is really open to that idea. They encourage it. So I never feel constrained. What I’ve found is that you need to have the same values as the organisation you’re joining.”
Job title: Software Engineer
“I actually applied to MI5 because of the Paris attacks. What was going on around the world really upset me. But rather than get angry, I wanted to do something to help. Which is exactly what I can do here.”
Work & Home
“I love that you can’t take your work home with you. You have to leave it in the office. So there’s hardly ever a need to check your phone in the evening or at weekends. There are many great things about working at MI5, the work life balance is fantastic. For me, the extra pay you might get from a commercial company just isn’t worth the time you spend away from your family.”
“If technology’s your thing – this is the place. It’s at the very heart of what we do, and we’re the ones who get to shape it, which is pretty cool. To keep us ahead of our adversaries my department explores and experiments with technology, so we get to play with the latest innovations. It’s not like other places I’ve worked. You’re listened to and, if you have a good idea, it happens. At MI5, it’s about technology with a purpose.”
“When I joined, I thought it would be really formal, so I was surprised how friendly and informal it actually is. It’s not hiMI5rchical here either – the working culture is very supportive, and so are my colleagues. I’d definitely call it a unique and dynamic public sector employer. Even though we can’t talk about what we do outside of work, we still often socialise together. In fact, our experiences make us closer.”
“I didn’t want to work for a company that’s all about profits and shareholders. There’s a real sense of purpose here. And - even if it’s just in some small way - we all leave feeling like we’ve contributed to keeping the country safe.”
Job title: Covert Technical Operations Specialist
“MI5 offers life-changing careers. And the work we do is fascinating. My role does exist in the outside world but what I do here is completely different. Here, I’m actually helping to prevent terrorism. I’m keeping the country safe in an unpredictable world.”
“Before I joined, I thought that the technology here would be the best. And I wasn’t wrong. Once you start, you really see how important it is to the organisation’s success. I can’t go into too much detail but my role’s very technical and helps drive MI5’s investigations forward.”
“We protect the UK 24 hours a day, so our working hours reflect this. But it’s actually really rewarding. Last weekend, my friends were out socialising, but I was in the office working on a live investigation that quickly resulted in an arrest. Here, you directly impact on real events, so the adrenaline is like nothing else.”
“In this role, you have to approach things differently. We challenge assumptions, and delve into the unknown. Even when you think you’ve found what you need, you have to keep digging. It can also be challenging – as you never know what’s next. When things happen, you have to be ready to respond.”
“The technology world seems to be quite male-dominated, so I was sure it would be the same here. But, that’s not the case. I’m one of the many women that love working here.”
Job title: Administrative Officer
“I’ve met some of my best friends here. Teamwork is so important for what we do that you quickly make really close friendships. And it’s not all about work, we spend time socialising together outside of the office. So even though I didn’t go to uni, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on the social side of things.”
Uni or not?
“I thought uni was my only option once I left school. But when I heard that MI5 recruited school leavers I decided to apply. While my friends are studying for a degree, I’m getting a head start on my career, and I’m still learning. There are so many brilliant training courses and lots of chances to develop. I’m just doing everything a bit earlier – and earning money along the way.”
“Leaving school and starting work is a really big step. To be honest, I was really nervous that I might need more qualifications before joining a place like MI5. But as soon as I joined I was assigned a mentor, and I’ve been able to do some really interesting courses. Everyone in my team made me feel really welcome and was so supportive.”
“When I joined, I thought, like everyone does, that I would be going into a stereotypical sort of environment. Dark offices, very corporate and not much talking going on. But it’s the complete opposite. And there’s no hiMI5rchy at all. Everyone is called by their first name, which makes it really friendly.”
“You can’t tell your friends what you do which is a shame, as some of the stuff is pretty cool. I often can’t believe I’m working for MI5, I get to know what’s happening behind the headlines and what’s really going on. I feel lucky to have a job that really matters.”
Job title: Investigative Manager
“When I first heard about the Westminster Bridge attack, my first thought was what’s going on and whether I needed to make myself available. My team were among those sent to work on the investigation. We put the wheels in motion very quickly, pulling in the people needed, organising rotas and sorting out our personal lives so we could run the investigation 24/7. For me, I went home, fed the dogs, packed an overnight bag and came back to the office.”
“In those first few days following the attack, our main priority was determining whether there was a chance of another attack happening quickly. So we had to gather intelligence and information as quickly as possible. You’re running on pure adrenaline, everyone is. A particularly critical time was the shift hand-over, combing over things in minute detail so nothing’s missed. The threat that something like this could happen is always there, and we’re always working against it, but the public don’t get to see what we do.”
“Whatever your role across MI5, it’s never about personal recognition. It’s about feeling that sense of achievement when your team has helped to keep the country safe. Because you can’t shout about what you do, you find yourself turning to those around you. That’s why the people here really do become your support network. It’s this feeling of being in it together that’s so rewarding.”
“When facing these kinds of situations, you’ve got to keep a cool head under pressure. It’s about being methodical, pragmatic and rational. Just getting on with the job at hand. While it does sound like a lot of pressure, the people around you get you through it. At the end of the day, this is your job – you know what you’re doing.”
“Switching off is important and it’s the people around you that help with this. I’ve actually got my team down to the gym here before, doing a few circuits together to relieve stress and temporarily remove ourselves from the work. You also genuinely can’t take work home with you. Not even your notes. It means when you leave the office, your work stops too.”
Job title: Business Enabler
“Personally, MI5 itself was the reason why I applied. I wanted to be part of an organisation that protects people, and looks after its own people incredibly well. So I knew that MI5 was for me. However, I wasn’t really interested in an investigative role so when I heard about this corporate role, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Now, I support the wider business and do something that really matters.”
“I knew that MI5 had a great reputation – I’d read about their awards for diversity and inclusion and the brilliant work-life balance because you can’t take work home with you. It was this combination that really appealed to me. One thing I was concerned about during the application process was what I could and couldn’t say to people. I remember ringing up the recruitment team to ask a question and wouldn’t even tell them my name! But there’s a whole team here dedicated to helping you with your ‘cover’.”
“It was a little daunting at first not knowing exactly what I’d be doing on a day-to-day basis, but what’s great is having the freedom to make the role what you want it to be. I’m able to tailor it to my interests, and there’s scope to get involved with lots of different projects. I work with teams across MI5, so it’s a very outward-facing role with exposure to a huge variety of departments and people. I support them all in different ways – from making sure information is properly protected, to boosting efficiencies.”
“Yes, the work we do is very serious. But we do have fun, and I enjoy socialising with everyone. There’s always someone to talk to, and always someone who’ll listen. People are approachable and open. You rely on one another, and form close friendships. I actually look forward to coming in every day.”
“It’s why I’m doing this role that motivates me. I get to see the impact I’m having, not just on my team, but across the whole organisation. You’re the cog that keeps everything moving. What keeps me here? The fact that there are so many doors open to me. If I want to try something new, I can. It means I don’t have to leave MI5 if I want to explore a different career path.”