They traditionally turn to local shops or bars, but now students are being offered the chance to secure a summer job with a difference: at spy agency GCHQ.

Teenagers and undergraduates selected to attend the listening post's summer schools programme will earn £250 a week while learning about how its operatives protect Britain against cyber threats.

Now in its second year, the scheme has been expanded from two to four sites across the UK.

The Cyber Insiders course, based in Cheltenham, is aimed at first or second year university students studying computer science, maths, physics or related subjects.

GCHQ said successful applicants will attend a ten-week cyber training programme featuring lectures from world class cyber experts and an insight into its cyber defence and intelligence missions.

The Cyber Exposure school is open to students studying any subject who have "a natural curiosity for technology and problem-solving", as well as five GCSEs including maths and English.

They must also be on track to achieve two A-levels at C-grade or higher, and aged 18 or over on April 1.

The course, which will run for six weeks at locations in the Scarborough, Thames Valley and Manchester areas, promises a "tailored programme of intensive development designed to build your cyber skills under the guidance of cutting edge trainers from industry and experienced GCHQ staff".

Attendees will have a significant motivation to impress their course leaders: at the end of the placements students may be offered the opportunity to apply for future summer schemes or permanent roles at GCHQ.

Applicants for the summer schools must be willing to sign the Official Secrets Act and undergo security clearance.

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