To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the letter from the National Security Adviser to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy of 10 March 2016, how many GCHQ staff were (a) recruited to and (b) completed the GCHQ cyber apprenticeship scheme in each year since 2012.
Since 2012 the scheme has already provided over 70 highly skilled new entrants to the GCHQ workforce. Of the 18 students who joined the GCHQ apprenticeship scheme in September 2012, over 60% successfully graduated from the course in 2014 and joined the GCHQ workforce. In September 2013, the nature and scale of the apprenticeship scheme changed as it expanded to become a scheme covering the whole of the SIA: all three of the UK's intelligence Agencies (MI5, SIS and GCHQ) now directly recruit successful graduates from the scheme, which means that the exact number of apprentices each year cannot be openly released for security reasons. I can confirm however that over 160 new apprentices have joined the scheme since 2013, and of these a substantial majority are expected to join GCHQ when they graduate.