There is a considerable variety of roles on offer in this area, from investigative and policing work to tax assessment, advice and collection, as well as administration and policy work.
Technology is being used more often, particularly in intelligence gathering, so there are office-based roles as well as physically challenging work.
Most jobs in the intelligence services are open to graduates from any discipline, although some will require specialist skills such as languages or IT, and others will require a high level of physical fitness.
HMRC operates a graduate fast-track scheme, but for customs roles a greater number of graduates are recruited to posts that are not specifically graduate entry but nevertheless can be challenging. Immigration officers can join specialist teams, including forgery detection and intelligence gathering, or move into enforcement work. There are also opportunities for overseas postings. Entry is through recruitment competitions and although a degree is not required, most recruits are graduates.
Follow the links below for profiles of common occupations in this sector:
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) - government department with responsibility for collecting and administering direct and indirect taxes, and paying and administering certain state benefits, as well as enforcing and administering border and frontier protection. Details of the Graduate Programme (Tax Professional) and the HMRC Internship Programme can also be found on the website.
World Customs Organisation (WCO) - an independent, intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations of its 179 Member Governments. Useful for background reading and with its links to overseas governments' customs organisations.
Europa (EU Taxation and Customs Union) - website to disseminate information on the Commission's work in the areas of taxation and the customs union, policy fields that contribute to the promotion of growth and development as well as to the competitiveness of EU businesses.
Two separate units within the Home Office have replaced what was The Border Agency. The units are UK Visas and Immigration (responsible for handling visa applications and asylum applications) and Immigration Enforcement (responsible for investigating immigration offences and preventing abuse of the immigration system).
HM Passport Office - an executive agency of the Home Office that issues UK passports to British citizens. The site includes a link to the main Civil Service vacancies page giving details of jobs at each of the agency's 37 office locations across the UK.
British Transport Police - the specialist national police service for Britain’s railways, ensuring the safety and security of passengers and property.
Defence Intelligence Service (DIS) - an integral part of the Ministry of Defence, comprises around 4,500 personnel under the command of the Chief of Defence Intelligence. Its roles range from intelligence collection and analysis through to less obvious functions such as military map production and the training of military linguists and photographers. Site includes recruitment information.
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is an intelligence and security organisation which reports to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Through its signals intelligence work, GCHQ supports Government decision-making in the fields of national security, military operations and law enforcement.
Security Service (MI5) - government service responsible for protecting the UK against threats to national security. The site includes a careers section giving a realistic introduction to the work.
Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) - Britain's secret service, SIS (commonly known as 'MI6') aims to give the UK an advantage, acting secretly overseas to make the UK safer and more prosperous. The website has a comprehensive careers section.