The first ever school trip has been made to MI6, by seven prize-winning students from some of the most deprived areas of Wales.
The students met with Alex Younger, chief of the secretive organisation, during their trip, which was arranged as MI6 tries to broaden its recruitment pool for spies.
In the past, the perception has been that staff are only chosen via a "tap on the shoulder" at Oxbridge colleges, but the Secret Intelligence Service wants to attract a wider range of recruits, and has concerns that potentially successful candidates may be not be considering a career within the service.
With the security threats facing Britain becoming even more diverse, the service needs a broader range of spies and skillsets, and is keen to draw on Britain's wide ethnic diversity to boost recruitment, a senior intelligence officer said.
"The Service wants to encourage people from all walks of life, irrespective of their religious or ethnic background, to understand they can have a fulfilling career working for MI6. The days when recruitment was limited to students at Oxford and Cambridge receiving a discreet tap on the shoulder are now ancient history," he stated.
The visit to MI6 was part of a week-long careers trip to London, which the seven students won. The aim of the trip was to widen their horizons about working in the capital city and to open their eyes to other potential professions.