Join the Q ….

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  • There’s an awful lot of Bondage around at the moment. Not Fifty Shades-style – I mean good old James Bond, shaken not stirred etc, dropping in to a screen near you in the new film Skyfall. I saw it yesterday and it is brilliant. But is it just me, or is there more marketing around it than ever before? I’ve seen James Bond nail varnishes in John Lewis (admittedly Live and Let Die is gorgeous), there’s a new 007 aftershave, you can get James’s exact phone and probably his pants too.
    At last, though, I’m bringing you a useful James Bond spin-off, for all those techie teenage geeks you have cluttering up your home. It’s only an apprenticeship to become Q!! Q, as we all know, is the quartermaster at MI-whatever who provides Bond with his exploding pens, watches that cut through steel and other gismos that he wrecks or leaves behind in the bedrooms of beautiful spies like the Chinese-Russian temptress, Mai Pantsarov.
    All joking aside, these British Intelligence apprenticeships are the real thing – two year technical programmes in IT, software, Internet and telecoms, based at GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, for the first year, with a salary of around £17,000. The lucky fledgling Qs would be working with MI5 (Security Service) and MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service). They will be working with constantly evolving, cutting edge technology. The idea is to combat cyber threats, terrorism, counter espionage and organised crime. There would be the possibility of London-based placements in the second year, and some of the training is university-delivered. The successful apprentices will leave the programme with a foundation degree and a level 4 diploma in IT Professional Competence – the perfect basis for a career as a real life Q, or even James Bond himself …
    Quite frankly, I’m really tempted to apply myself. It sounds fantastic. The only thing holding me back (apart from vertigo, inertia, a husband, four children and two cats) is a slight lack of the academic qualifications you need. Candidates must have, or be expected to gain by September 2013, three A levels or equivalent in STEM-related subjects. That’s science, technology, engineering, mathematics. I know, I had no idea either.
    If you want to find out more (and who wouldn’t), register for one of the open days in Manchester, London or Cheltenham. Applications will open on 18th October, closing on 30th November 2012. Applicants must be British citizens. GCHQ values diversity and welcomes applicants from all sections of the community.

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