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Principal Commercial Manager

Looking back, it was the prestige of being part of all this that attracted me. The work sounded really interesting, and I knew I’d be making a difference through my skills. Let’s face it, how often do you get to be involved in a secret organisation? I hadn’t worked in the security industry before, so the vetting process was new to me. You’re asked a lot of questions about your values, beliefs, finances, family and friends. But you have to remember it’s all for the right reasons. Once you’re in, you soon find the work’s really wide in scope and very varied. The team gets involved in everything from writing strategies to managing suppliers. You can be part of an embedded team, using your procurement skills and knowledge in the business. Or we also work with technical people, translating specialist information into practical information for customers. One thing that stands out is that the people you work with are genuinely passionate about working here. They take a huge pride in what they do. And I know that people get a buzz out of solving complex problems, the kind you just wouldn’t get elsewhere. The professionalism and the level of intelligence around you is impressive. I’ve worked in a variety of organisations, both small and large. To be totally honest nothing prepares you for working here. The pure volume of the work and the complexity of it is pretty challenging. Things keep evolving too, and that’s exciting. But the key thing is that there are lots of people helping you. Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply qualifications are massively supported here, which is great for the profession as well as the individual. We’ve a real mix of people learning together – some already qualified, and some who are on their way. It makes for a team with a really wide and varied range of experiences, knowledge and ways of thinking. There’s also a huge range of ongoing training – talks you can attend, presentations by other parts of the business, and a buddy system when you start. So from day one you aren’t quite let loose on all of the systems, and someone can at least show you where to get coffee from! It’s great to know how much our work matters. When we save money on something it really does mean that something good can be done to fight crime, protect the nation and keep people safe. I’m only really skimming the surface of what we do. And there’s so much more we can do to make a difference.

Departments and Roles at GCHQ