Recently retired boss of MI5 Sir Jonathan Evans was the guest of honour at Ferndown Upper School’s annual GCSE Certificate evening.
Addressing a large audience, Sir Jonathan highlighted reliability and trust as being key elements for young people wanting a career in the intelligence services. He confirmed that many of the most talented MI5 employees were under 30 and encouraged the students to persist in their studies and develop skills in the workplace in different roles as it was not possible to tell where it would lead – he had not expected to end up as head of the service when he started out.
Sir Jonathan responded to questions from the audience, which included topics such as personal safety, threats to the UK today and how to work for MI5. He emphasised that the service had been most successful when nobody in the UK had even noticed any threats to national security eg during the 2012 Olympics. He also outlined the functions of MI5 and described some of its successes including the detection and prevention of a terrorist plot to blow up several airliners.
“Intelligence service employees are in positions of trust and can seriously harm national security if that duty is breached,” he said. “At MI5 ethical issues are always considered carefully before anyone is investigated and a counsellor is employed so that staff can discuss any issues they have about the organisation’s procedures.”
He encouraged students at the school studying Ethics and Philosophy to continue as these subjects have important applications in today’s world.
Thanking Sir Jonathan on behalf of the school Chair of Governors David Moss said, “Sir Jonathan has widened our horizons this evening and shown us that the work of MI5 is absolutely vital to the preservations of the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.”