Working for Dstl

Dstl employs some of the world's brightest people. We're always on the lookout for talented, creative, dedicated and innovative individuals to join us.

We are recruiting! Our vacancies are advertised on the Civil Service jobs site. To view our vacancies, select ‘Job Search’, then ‘Jobs by Department’, then ‘Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’.

Explore Civil Service careers and professions on the Civil Service careers website.

Our recruits

We recruit scientists, engineers, analysts, programme and project managers, and finance, logistics, medical and communications personnel.

While each role will have its own individual qualification and technical requirements, there are some standard requirements and personal qualities we look for in our candidates. You must:

  • be a UK national (unfortunately dual nationals cannot be considered for positions)
  • have resided in the UK for the past 5 years.

Because of the nature of our work, all our successful candidates will need to be security cleared before working for us. This can take several weeks.

The benefits of working for us

As well as a rewarding career in defence science and technology, Dstl offers its staff (including graduates, industrial placement students, summer students and apprentices) a wide range of benefits and training opportunities in a supportive, encouraging and flexible environment.

Our recruits in their own words

Watch a series of short videos in which some of our recruits speak about their experiences of life at Dstl.

Working flexibly

The flexible working scheme allows staff to arrange their working day to suit their lifestyle and circumstances. Dstl can also consider alternative working patterns in some cases, including:

  • part-time work
  • job share
  • work during term-time only
  • work annualised hours
  • work from home (under a formal agreement)
  • work compressed hours (for example, working 37 hours over 4 days)

Annual leave

All employees are entitled to 25 days’ leave (pro rata) when they start; this increases to 30 days after 5 years.

In addition to this our people are entitled to 8 bank holidays.

Occupational health and sick pay

All staff are entitled to up to 12 months’ paid sick leave (6 months at full pay and 6 months at half pay). Staff also have access to occupational health advisers who are able to provide a confidential advice service on health concerns in the workplace. We also operate an employee assistance programme providing support and advice.

Pension scheme

Employees have the opportunity to choose between 2 pension schemes when they join Dstl:

  • the partnership pension account

For full details of the schemes, visit the Civil Service pensions website.

Supporting family life

Staff have access to a number of voucher schemes and parental leave entitlements, including:

  • pre-school childcare voucher scheme - vouchers which help pay towards childcare costs
  • salary sacrifice scheme - in return for childcare vouchers
  • maternity leave - up to 52 weeks’ leave (paid and unpaid)
  • shared parental leave - up to 50 weeks’ leave (paid and unpaid)
  • paternity leave - 2 weeks’ leave
  • adoption leave - up to 52 weeks’ adoption leave (paid and unpaid)

Facilities for staff

Our 4 main sites have a variety of on-site facilities for staff, including:

  • free parking
  • dedicated car-sharing spaces and a comprehensive car-sharing scheme
  • fully equipped gymnasiums that offer low-cost membership options
  • hot and cold meals and light refreshments on site

Travel to work and other discounts

We offer the following benefits:

  • season ticket loans
  • cycle-to-work scheme - to save on the cost of a new bicycle or cycling equipment
  • discounted rates for civil service societies and healthcare
  • access to discounts available to Ministry of Defence staff

Training and development opportunities

Our staff are strongly encouraged to manage their own career progression. This is supported through a number of opportunities, including:

  • up to 2 paid professional subscriptions each year
  • chartership scheme - supported by mentors from across the business
  • fellowship scheme - recognising staff who make an outstanding and creative contribution
  • internal staff support networks - providing further advice and support
  • secondment opportunities - with industry and academic partners in the UK and abroad, helping staff to develop skills, knowledge and experience
  • career level reviews - helping staff to progress through the organisation
  • networking events - learning about other areas of the business

Graduate development programme

As a committed member of the 5% club we recruit around 80 graduates and offer around 150 student-placement opportunities every year from a wide-range of scientific, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines and backgrounds.

You will have opportunities to learn and develop in a hands-on and supportive environment from some of the top experts in their fields.

Graduate vacancies

Opportunities for our graduate programme are advertised on the civil service job site from September each year.

Working as a graduate at Dstl

Graduates usually work in one of the following areas:

  • graduate analyst: covering analysis, operational research, technology and social science
  • graduate engineer: covering engineering and technology
  • graduate scientist: covering science, social science, technology, information science, mathematics and statistics

Graduate salaries

Graduate salaries start from £21,000. You will receive 4 reviews throughout the year where you can achieve pay increases depending on your performance.

Graduates can also expect to receive access to all our staff benefits.

How the graduate programme works

The Dstl graduate programme lasts for 2 years, and provides you with the best possible training and guidance to help start your career. You will be looked after and helped to settle into your new role, with opportunities to enhance your learning including:

  • work-related conferences
  • events (both internal Dstl focussed and external)
  • role-specific courses
  • opportunities to network and learn about Dstl with other new starters

You will be encouraged to continue your professional development through chartership programmes and accreditation.

Apprenticeship schemes

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.

We recruit apprentices across a variety of areas. In 2021 they included:

  • electronic engineering
  • ordnance, munitions and explosives
  • cyber security
  • commercial procurement
  • facilities management
  • business administration
  • project management
  • software engineering

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.

All our apprenticeships are managed in accordance with the National Apprenticeship Framework.

Apprentice salaries

First year apprentice salaries range from £14,075 to £21,549, depending on the apprenticeship level, and rise in the second year of employment. Apprentices also have access to a range of staff benefits.

Apprenticeship vacancies

Opportunities for our apprenticeship programme are advertised on the Civil Service jobs site from January each year. Filter the results by contract type ‘apprenticeship’ and organisation ‘Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’.

Apprenticeship case studies

Dstl’s apprentices are forging successful careers in engineering, science and technology, and management. Read our case studies to find out how.

Industrial placements

These 1-year placements are available to undergraduate students part way through their degree studies. Industrial placement students make an immediate contribution to projects and work across a broad range of project areas. Students gain experience working with team of engineers and scientists on projects in support of the MOD, UK armed forces and other government departments.

Students get involved in a mix of practical lab-based tasks and research. Along with the on-the-job opportunities, they have formal training and development opportunities in line with their interests and project requirements.

Industrial placement vacancies

Opportunities for our placement scheme are advertised on the civil service job site from October each year.

Industrial placement salaries

Industrial placement salaries start from around £15,700. Industrial placement students also have access to a range of staff benefits.

Summer vacation placements

These 10 to 12 week placements run across all our sites and provide University students with the opportunity to work on some specific technical projects over their summer break. Summer placements are advertised each Autumn on the civil service job site for the following summer with a salary of approximately £15,800 pro rata.

Contact us

If you would like more information about any of the opportunities available or the application process please email