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Apprenticeships are a regular feature of my blog...serious articles about funding shortages and calls for Government action.

But this week I thought I would ring the changes and focus on the positive - and share information about two brand new apprenticeship opportunities that have just been advertised.

The so-called 'spy agency' Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, is hiring for several positions at its new Manchester city centre office - including apprentices.

While MI5 and MI6 deal with security threats in the UK and overseas, GCHQ gathers signal intelligence, communications security and deals with code breaking.

It must be emphasised that GCHQ is not looking for the next James Bond but, just like spy 007's job, the roles are key to keeping the country safe.

The advertisements state, possibly unnecessarily: "It’s challenging, varied and meaningful work that you simply won’t find elsewhere."

There are two placements advertised - a Software Engineering Apprenticeship with a salary of almost £21,000 and a Cyberfirst Degree Apprenticeship in Cyber Security paying just shy of £19,000.

The start date for both apprenticeships is September 2020 and, probably unsurprisingly, the entry requirement is high - three A Levels, two of which must be at grade B or above and the third grade C or above. The cyber security applicant also needs GCSE maths at grade B or 5 or above.

The Software Engineering Apprenticeship involves 'building technology to help catch criminals and to improve the ability to tackle threats to national security'.

Over the course of three years, the successful candidate will work hands-on 'to help build and maintain the world's most sophisticated electronic equipment' - while working towards attaining a BSc Honours Degree in Digital and Technology Solutions (Software Development).

The CyberFirst Degree Apprenticeship is an opportunity 'to develop advanced cyber security skills, while helping the UK to grow its technical capabilities'.

During this three-year programme and while gaining a recognised university degree, the successful apprentice will 'get exposure to some of the world's most cutting-edge technologies along with practical insights into the innovative ways GCHQ use them to provide cyber security to its customers'.

The lucky candidates who do manage to land an apprenticeship with GCHQ, will be a part of a 100-year history of British Intelligence as of November 1 this year.

GCHQ was founded in 1919 and played a key role in the Second World War, where the organisation was responsible for breaking the German Enigma codes.

While we don't have any apprenticeships available with British Intelligence, Riverside Training does provide plenty of opportunities across a wide range of disciplines.

To start your exciting apprenticeship journey get in touch with our friendly and helpful team on 01775 710945 to find out more about what we can offer.