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Principal Commercial Manager

My role’s totally changed since I joined. I came in as an engineer and then moved into procurement, buying engineering components. I’ve had various roles and been promoted a number of times, from managing a diverse portfolio of commercial requirements to my current role heading the Policy Team advising on procurement matters. It was this variety that attracted me in the first place. I could see that I’d be able to develop my skills in different roles. I also had family members who worked here, so I knew a little about what the work involved. But most importantly, GCHQ came across as an employer who looked after their staff and offered job security. I really enjoy the diverse range of work. No two days are the same and there’s always something new to learn. In procurement, our role’s changed a lot in the time I’ve been here. When I joined, procurement was a support function, but now it’s more strategically important in delivering the mission. My biggest challenge is ensuring we comply with new policy and guidelines… and that the information’s provided in a suitable format to our staff. It’s quite a corporate environment – you’re respected for what you do, which makes you feel valued. But it’s also relaxed and a good place to work. You have access to all sorts of training opportunities and you’re encouraged to make the most of them to develop your skills. In my current role I’ve gained an MCIPS qualification through examination, but there are other training routes available too. There’s also a good work/life balance, which is a real plus. It enables me to fit my work around social engagements from time to time. And there are a lot of social activities you can get involved in here, too. Through all my work I now understand in more detail the importance of what we do in protecting the nation – although I haven’t found my Aston Martin yet… or met James Bond!

Departments and Roles at GCHQ