INTELLIGENCE chiefs at MI5 are targeting St Andrews students as they seek to recruit the next generation of spies.
The top-secret security service has taken out a half-page advert in the university’s student newspaper The Saint calling on young people to apply for a number of ‘intelligence officer’ posts.
Potential candidates are told the job will involve “vitally important work” which will “help safeguard the security of the nation”.
The advert reads: “Analysing information. Spotting connections. Making decisions that really matter. This is what MI5’s dedicated and focused Intelligence Officers do every day.
“Working together, we help safeguard the security of the nation.
“This is challenging and vitally important work that demands strong communication, analytical and organisational skills — not to mention a good deal of patience and attention to detail.
“If you enjoy solving problems, becoming an Intelligence Officer is one of the most rewarding and interesting career paths you could choose.”
A spokesperson for St Andrews University said it was no surprise the town’s students were being targeted for recruitment.
They said: “MI5 comes to St Andrews and other Scottish universities to recruit because it knows our graduates are highly intelligent, critical thinkers.”
The news that St Andrews students are being courted by the security service prompted accusations of elitism from some quarters, including civil liberties campaigner Mike Dailly, principal solicitor at the Govan Law Centre in Glasgow, and former Dundee University rector and British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray.
Responding, the university spokesperson said: “It’s got nothing to do with class or social status, and anyone who thinks otherwise is out of touch with St Andrews today.”
Earnings for the UK-based intelligence positions are said to be £24,750 plus benefits.
The advert concludes ominously with the warning: “Discretion is vital.”