From education to employment

Graduates, students and apprentices at Dstl


Graduates, students and apprentices contribute to the future of our organisation and we take great pride in recruiting talented and enthusiastic young people each year.

We have exciting projects and assignments that we can’t wait to get you involved in. We’re confident that you’ll join Dstl and see things through a different lens. We want you to come in, think differently, and bring solutions to our challenges.

Dstl is recruiting

Our values

At Dstl (the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) we value innovation, collaboration and impact. And those 3 words not only describe how we work, but also our people and culture. They are embedded into our organisation and are reflected in the fantastic work we do.

We look for people who can demonstrate these values and apply them to our unique positions at Dstl. So, if you want to start your career – or get a glimpse of work – at an organisation that has a truly special purpose and lives our values, then we’d love to hear from you.

Our purpose

Dstl’s purpose is simple, but powerful: to provide the science inside UK defence and security, and help protect our nation.

We can tell you the hows and whys when we speak to you, but ultimately, that’s our goal and we are proud of who we are and what we do.

We provide world-class expertise and cutting edge science and technology to the UK, and for us to continue doing this, we need to bring in more talented individuals along the way. That’s where you come in.

Early careers: the options

Graduate programmes

Our divisions run graduate programmes that last for 2 years. During this time, you will learn all about the objectives, direction and challenges, whilst working on fascinating and unique projects along the way.

You will receive ongoing support from day 1, with opportunities to develop your learning through:

work-related conferences
internal and external events
role-specific courses
in-house graduate community

We will also encourage you to continue your professional development through chartered programmes and accreditations.

Not only will you get invaluable insights through working at Dstl and experience working on some of our most exciting projects, but our graduate salaries range from £22,000 to £27,000. You will have 4 reviews throughout the duration of your programme where you can achieve pay increases. We’ll also immerse you in our incredible culture and you’ll access all of our organisational benefits.

Apply now for 2022 graduate opportunities

Our main graduate recruitment period is between October and December. We sometimes recruit graduates outside this window, so keep your eyes peeled.

Industrial placements

The transition from university to the workplace can be quite daunting, but we want to help you. To ease that change, we offer 1-year placements to undergraduate students part-way through their degrees.

By joining us on an industrial placement, you will instantly contribute to projects and work across a broad range of areas. You will gain experience working with teams of engineers and scientists, in support of the MOD, UK armed forces and other government departments.

We’ll involve you in a mix of practical lab-based tasks and research. Your personal development and insight to Dstl are paramount to us and we will work with you ensure that we’re maximising both of those areas.

Opportunities for our placement scheme are advertised from October each year.

Apply now for 2022 industrial placements

Summer placements

We offer 10 to 12 week placements to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to work on some specific, technical projects over the summer break.

This is a great way for you to maximise your development throughout your university journey and a great opportunity to apply your theoretical learnings to our projects.

Our industrial and summer placement students receive a salary of £17,500 which will be pro-rata to account for the duration of your placement.

Summer placements are advertised each autumn for the following summer.

Apply now for summer 2022 placements


Dstl recruits new apprentices each year. Most apprentices will start with us in September, to coincide with the academic year. The Dstl apprenticeship schemes mix formal classroom-based study (available virtually during Covid) alongside practical hands-on training in our workshop, laboratory and office facilities.

First year apprentice salaries range from £14,358 to £27,010, depending on the apprenticeship level, and rise each year of employment. Apprentices also have access to a range of employee benefits.

At the end of the programmes, many of the apprentices accept permanent roles within our departments where they have the opportunity to progress further with additional training and development. Read some of their experiences.

Dstl apprentice profile

Opportunities for our apprenticeship programme are advertised on the Civil Service jobs site from January each year.

At Dstl, we have an eye for talent, so if you impress us, during either your summer or industrial placement, then we’ll dip our hands in our pockets and offer you a sponsorship opportunity. This means we will financially contribute to the remainder of your studies and you will be fast tracked to the interview stage of a graduate opportunity, when you finish your degree.

Why choose Dstl

We are a special organisation who harness advanced science and technology to protect our nation. And with a workforce of nearly 4,000 permanent employees, we work shoulder-to-shoulder to ensure the safety of the UK.

The work we do is fascinating and unique. We provide the UK government with specialist science and technology research, advice and analysis. Unsurprisingly, the work we do is sensitive and often operationally critical, with the potential to save many lives.

We have a fantastic organisational culture, where we collaborate and support each other. Our people feel comfortable bringing their whole and unique selves to work and we are passionate about our people.

Leaving university, college or sixth form and transitioning to the workplace can be a daunting process – we appreciate that. But you’re not alone. By joining Dstl in one of our Early Careers programmes, you’ll be supported every step of the way; from day one, and beyond.

Life at Dstl

We look forward to welcoming you to Dstl on one of our Early Career programmes. Whether you’re thinking of joining us temporarily on one of our placement schemes, or permanently on a graduate programme, we’re committed to creating an environment that enables your personal and professional growth.

Every year we bring in bright, excited and enthusiastic cohorts of students and graduates. So you’re not alone. You’ll be immersed into a community of like-minded individuals, where you can share experiences, knowledge and ideas, to help us shape our future.

Your development is our objective

We recruit people who embody our values and demonstrate the potential to drive our organisation forward. We invest you, because we know you will add value straight away and as you progress into a future star at Dstl. You have the education, enthusiasm and potential and we have the culture, leaders and opportunities – the perfect combination.

With specific developmental plans, mentoring programmes and buddy-systems, our learning and development team work passionately to help you unlock your full potential.

But that’s not all. The leaders you work with will involve you in truly fascinating and unique projects. You’ll be able to apply your theoretical and educational understanding, to real-life jobs, with real-life impacts.

Ultimately, we value and understand the importance of creating an environment that sets you up for a fantastic and rewarding career.

Find out more about the benefits of working for us, and how we make Dstl a place where everyone can thrive, succeed and achieve their ambitions.

Our recruits in their own words

My career in Dstl

Hear from some more of our employees about their career paths and experiences working at Dstl:

Read more stories from the people inside Dstl.

Apply now

Graduate vacancies for 2022 now open
Industrial placements for 2022 now open
Summer placements for 2022 now open
All current Dstl vacancies

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