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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 14:40 GMT
MI5 web chat to attract students
MI5 logo
MI5 promises a 'modern environment'
The intelligence agency MI5 is to hold a live chatroom conversation with students as part of an effort to make its recruitment methods more open.

The service, which deals with counter- espionage and anti-terrorism in the UK, takes on 60 graduates a year.

It is taking part in the Careers Chat Live website, more usually used by banks and large corporations, from 2pm to 3pm on Wednesday.

MI5, established in 1909, has advertised most jobs since 1997.

Oxbridge bias?

During the online chat, staff will answer questions on recruitment, training and careers.

The service has several types of position to fill, including investigative officers and foreign language specialists.

A secret-service recruitment manager said: "This is an exciting opportunity for us, and one which we are looking forward to.

"Career opportunities in the security service are varied and fulfilling, and we hope to be able to convey some of that enthusiasm for our work to prospective candidates by participating in Careers Chat Live."

MI5 currently employs around 1,900 people, with graduates starting on a salary of 20,100 a year.

The service has previously been accused of favouring Oxbridge graduates and former public school pupils.

But its website says: "The fact is that, as long as you pass our security vetting, we recruit solely on the contents of your application form and your performance in the assessments. Nothing else matters."

Instead, MI5 promises "a modern environment with a culture to match".

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