Five things I gained from the GCS internship

Last summer, I was placed at the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) fast-paced press office at the height of the pandemic, working on high-profile news stories and announcements at a critical time in government.

After my GCS Internship, I gained a role as a Media Relations Executive. Since taking part, I have continued to benefit from the experience – below are 5 examples of how.

1. Real insight into a career in government communications

Before the GCS Internship, I had never met a government communicator and knew little about government communications. The GCS Internship provided a real insight into the variety of roles beyond my specialism in media relations. For example, I worked with our digital team at DHSC on a government-wide Black History Month social media campaign.

I heard from different government communicators about their experience through the GCS Internship Induction session and the GCS Academy webinars from Internal Communications, Marketing, Strategic Communications and External Affairs. By the end of my GCS Internship, I understood how the various government communications disciplines work together, alongside policy teams, to deliver the government’s key priorities.

2. How to develop my communication skills in a supportive workplace

The media team at DHSC provided me with a supportive workplace to develop my communication skills. I set up a one-to-one session with the official speech writer to learn more about the speech writing process. I also wrote a script for a pre-recorded video with a minister for the UK Dementia Congress. I received very detailed feedback on where I could improve my speech writing skills.

I also had the opportunity to try out other skills – from creating social media posts to shaping spokesperson lines featured across media and drafting ministerial quotes for announcements, as well as coordinating briefing documents and evaluating announcements.

3. How to build networks across the entire Civil Service

Building strong networks across the Civil Service provides a chance to exchange and reflect on numerous GCS Internship experiences. In my cohort, we had GCS interns working in the Cabinet Office, the National Crime Agency, the Department for Transport, Ministry of Justice, Companies House and Office for National Statistics, to list a few.

By taking part in the GCS Internship, I have made new friends I regularly keep in contact with and meet in my spare time, as well as becoming closer to some people who I had previously crossed paths with at university. The connections I made in my GCS internship cohort and at DHSC will stay with me for the rest of my career!

4. Why I am valued for the diversity I bring to the table

I have found the Civil Service to be a diverse and inclusive environment, where everyone can be themselves and bring their unique perspective to the table. At DHSC’s Communications Directorate, we have a Diversity & Inclusion working group which is a safe welcoming space to share personal experiences on a regular basis.

I witnessed firsthand how my own diversity – my race and socio-economic background – alongside the diversity of my coworkers, was valued and helped the government’s communications to better reach our audiences in a diverse, multicultural and modern Britain!

5. How to get your foot in the Civil Service door

The GCS Internship provides many routes to get a foot in the Civil Service. My route was successfully applying for and gaining a promotion at DHSC after my GCS Internship placement. The route of my GCS Internship mentor, who was on the cohort before me, involved landing a role from the GCS CV candidate pool of alumni interns.

GCS interns from previous cohorts have returned to university after their placements with the communication skills to land GCS roles in Civil Service after graduating.

Applications for the 2021 GCS Internship are now open and close on 8 March.

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  • Peaches Brown-Senior (1)