UK spy agency says dyslexic spooks spot patterns others miss and they want to recruit more

<p>Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham.</p>

Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham.

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If you’re dyslexic, then statistically you have a better chance of working within the UK government’s intelligence and security agency, GCHQ - because it makes you a better spook.

The purpose of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is to protect people online and in the real world by collaborating with other agencies such as Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), MI5, among others.

Recruitment statistics have shown that those on the government body’s apprentice schemes are four times more likely to have dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a learning difference which mainly affects reading and writing skills and it means that the brain processes information differently.

It’s estimated up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK has some degree of dyslexia, according to the NHS.

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Jo Cavan, the director of strategy, policy and engagement at GCHQ toldThe Guardian the attributes they look for in candidates, and why dyslexia can help:

“We’re looking for people who can see something that’s out of place in a bigger picture, who have good visual awareness and can spot anomalies.

“If they’re sifting through large amounts of data from a large number of sources to prevent a terrorist attack or a serious organised criminal, skills such as pattern recognition are key. A lot of dyslexic colleagues have those strengths.”

A report by Made by Dyslexia found that dyslexic people tend to be skilled in complex problem-solving, empathy, communication and critical thinking - desirable skills to have to work within GCHQ.

Charlotte, a data analyst GCHQ, has explained how her dyslexia helps with her job role:

“I’m often looking through a lot of data and I find that my dyslexia helps me to see the bigger picture and spot patterns that aren’t always obvious to everyone else around me. I also find that my approach to finding solutions is very different. I often think quite fast and outside of the box.”

It’s clear that GCHQ can see the benefits of hiring someone with dyslexia, which may lead to more companies and organisations following suit.

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