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At present, candidates for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, also sometimes known as MI6) should not be less than 21 years old on entry and of British nationality. Also, at least one parent of any candidate should have British nationality, or substantial ties to the UK. Candidates for employment as Intelligence Officers would normally be expected to have gained a university degree. Students during their final year at a British university may enter the Open Competition for appointments with the Civil Service. If they do well in the Open Competition, they may write to this office at the above address to request consideration as a candidate for SIS. Those seeking employment in a support category (administrative, technical, IT, communications, clerical, maintenance etc.) should have full qualifications commensurate with the positions sought (eg university degree, appropriate diplomas, GCSE's, vocational qualifications etc, and may also send their full personal details and CVs to this office. Support staff may be called upon to fulfill a variety of operational roles. Candidates should be prepared to accept overseas postings.
All candidates for SIS undergo a rigorous recruitment, assessment and training process, as well as in-depth "development vetting" (DV), formerly known as "positive vetting" (PV) which is regularly reviewed throughout their career/period of employment. They must also complete satisfactorily a probationary period before being accepted as established members of SIS.
As you will see, Nicholas, I have not tried to suggest what subjects, languages or qualifications to go for at college or university. Much will depend upon your own strengths and weaknesses. Try to gain as many qualifications as possible. This is important for whatever career you may choose in the end. It is also important to demonstrate that you have the maturity, intelligence, ability, self-discipline and applications to master the most challenging subjects. If, when you have completed the best possible education available to you, you are still interested in a career in intelligence and security work, the best people to consult will be the career development advisers at the college or university at which you are studying at the time, or you may write again to this office.