GCHQ spy apprenticeship ideal career path for Jack
SITTING behind a computer screen, Jack Webb looks an unlikely secret agent.
While James Bond might be providing audiences with the thrill of spying on the big screen, it is a different story in the real world.
Closer to 007's quartermaster, Q, Jack is more likely to be found behind a computer screen in an office than gripping a Walther PPK in a foreign clime.
But the 17-year-old could be exactly what the world of espionage is looking for.
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Jack, who is currently studying at Gloucestershire College, is hoping to be one of the apprentices hired by Cheltenham-based intelligence centre GCHQ.
The listening post is on the hunt for 100 young people to take on as apprentices as it tries to tackle the growth of computer crime.
But despite the focus on youngsters brought up on the likes of video games and action movies, Jack is only too aware the real spy world would be very different.
Jack, of Mandeville Close, Longlevens, is studying website development and hopes his technical expertise will stand him in good stead when he applies to the apprenticeship scheme.
"I know it's not like the films but I am more into the computer side anyway," he said.
"It can be very technical and complicated.
"I have been looking at doing an apprenticeship to get some experience under my belt to help open up other jobs to me in the future.
"Obviously university fees are quite expensive and neither my parents or I have the money to pay for me to go.
"When I left school, I was thinking about IT and thought GCHQ would be a good place to work.
"People had said it is a hard place to get into for work but looking at it online, it seems there are ways in."
Following a successful pilot scheme, the first young apprentices will walk through the doors of GCHQ this autumn.
Open to 18 year olds with three good A-levels, or an equivalent vocational qualification, in science, technology or engineering, successful applicants will spend two years learning about communications, security and engineering through courses, technical training and work placements.
On graduating they will enter roles within GCHQ or the other intelligence agencies.
The drive to recruit more young people comes against a backdrop of difficulties experienced by GCHQ in retaining staff.
Bosses have admitted GCHQ cannot match the pay and perks of software firms such as Microsoft and Google.