At Thales, we work in diverse sectors generating exciting and creative solutions for our customers. We believe the best way we can serve our people as well as our customers is to ensure that we continuously work to build an environment in which you and all your colleagues feel respected for who you are and the value that your individuality brings to the organisation. Collectively, Thales people make the company and its culture what it is and we all deserve to feel that we belong and can be at our best.
We are striving to create a workplace in which you can authentically Be You, With Us. This requires on-going, deliberate attention from all of us and is something you’ll have the opportunity to help shape as we share much more about this in the months and years ahead.
As a business we provide CAREERS and not only jobs. With Thales employing 80,000 employees in 68 countries our mobility policy enables thousands of employees each year to develop their careers at home and abroad, in their existing areas of expertise or by branching out into new fields. Together we believe that embracing flexibility is a smarter way of working.
We are committed to providing an inclusive and barrier-free recruitment process. We will provide reasonable adjustments and support to ensure neuro-diverse applicants or those with a disability or long-term condition can be their best during the recruitment process
We’re committed to giving you opportunities to be your best.
Thales has an established early career programme for Graduates and Apprentices – making up over 5% of the UK workforce. At any one time we employ around 270 apprentices across the UK business, with opportunities across each of the main UK sites. Programmes vary in length, between 12 months and five years, and are offered as permanent roles from day one. We offer apprenticeship opportunities across: • Software Engineering • Hardware Engineering • Systems Engineering • Electronics Engineering • Cyber • Rail • Manufacturing • Project Planning and Controls • Data
With Advanced, Higher and Degree Level opportunities available, our engineering and business apprenticeships offer something for everyone. Our engineering programmes are between two to four years in duration, proving an excellent grounding for those wishing to become a chartered engineer. If the world of business is more for you then we have a range of higher apprenticeships across our business functions. Typically two years in duration we offer fully-funded industry recognised professional qualifications. We want you to be the best you can possibly be. So first off, we make sure you get plenty of experience, getting you close to projects that offer hands-on experience while enabling you to gain your professional qualification
To find out more about our current opportunities and to apply for a role with us please visit: thalesgroup.com/en/uk-career
What did you study prior to your apprenticeship? Have you always wanted to work in the security industry?
Believe it or not I started out wanting to be a vet! But a career in technology was always on my mind as my Dad works as a software architect.
I wasn’t aware of cyber security, and that a career in that area was a possibility; I went to an all-girls school and it wasn’t commonly talked about. However, amidst the WannaCry attacks on the NHS we had someone come into our school to give a talk – from that point on I was very intrigued and wanted to explore the subject further.
At the time there wasn’t anything for beginners in this industry, but I found out about a competition called CyberStart that involves partaking in cyber-related challenges and puzzles that increase in complexity as you progress. I’ve taken part 3 years in a row, making it to the very final stage in all three.
How long have you been in your apprenticeship programme so far and how have you found it?
I’ve been in the apprenticeship programme since September 2022.
I was surprised about how much you’re treated as an actual employee. You’re not there for work experience, and colleagues treat us with so much respect. We’ve been told a few times that apprentices are the future talent of the company.
The university work has been challenging, but in a good way – I work better when I’m challenged.
What made you choose the Cyber Security Apprenticeship route at Thales in the UK?
I didn’t do too well in my A-Levels – I struggled at home during the pandemic, I find it hard to study at home and not be in a learning environment.
When it was clear that university wouldn’t be the best next option for me, it was suggested that I look for an apprenticeship. The head of business connections at My Sixth Form College suggested Thales. I technically didn’t have enough UCAS points to qualify, but the head of business connections really advocated for me, and I managed to get an interview.
I was determined to get onto this apprenticeship and studied for an EPQ to make up for my missing UCAS points. I was working full time and managed to complete the EPQ in three months, getting the required grade. My former college and computing teacher were such great helps during this process.
What was your placement in Doncaster like?
I got to work in an operations centre and see how Thales’ work was keeping people safe – something you don’t get in every industry. You can truly see your real-world impact.
What does a typical day look like for a Cyber Security Apprentice and what sort of skills are you developing throughout the programme?
There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ day – that’s what makes the role, and the industry such an interesting one to work in.
When I’m in the office I’ll be given set tasks to own and work on, attend meetings and respond to requests from colleagues who need assistance. Around once a week all apprentices are encouraged to put time aside to work on our university tasks. We’re also given time for our personal development where we might be using a training platform or work towards a professional qualification funded by Thales.
Going straight into the workplace, I’m definitely learning skills that will last me for my whole career. For example, the split between university and work on site means that I’ve learnt how to balance my time and get organised. I’ve learnt that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and how important it is to block out time when I need to get something done.
Can you share the variety of projects you can work on within Cyber Security, and is there a specific area that interests you?
While I can’t go into the specifics of different clients – I’ve got to work on a range of projects (incident response, asset management, firewalls – you name it). Before I started my apprenticeship, I thought that I wanted to specialise in pentesting – however, I have actually taken more of an interest in threat intelligence.
What has been the best thing about your apprenticeship and why would you recommend a Cyber Security Apprenticeship to someone?
I love the diversity of the role. I work with so many clients in different industries, there’s a huge variety in what Thales does and who we work with.
I also love the fact that I genuinely feel that the work I’m doing is having a positive impact and protecting people.
Did you have any misconceptions about apprenticeships before starting one yourself?
I wasn’t very well informed about just how good apprenticeships could be. I didn’t think it would be as reputable as going to university – whereas the actual experience you get here is so much more valuable.
I learn better practically, and it’s very hands on at Thales. Rather than being stuck doing admin or menial tasks, you’re actively getting involved in Thales’ processes and projects.
What advice would you give anyone considering an apprenticeship / what do you wish you’d been told?
An apprenticeship is not like school, you’re treated like an adult and expected to perform as such. You have greater responsibility, which comes with a lot more freedom!