GCS Academy: support to boost your skills without leaving your desk

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve all been challenged to work in new ways, and many of us now work from home. To help you continue to learn and develop in these unprecedented times the Government Communication Service (GCS) professional development team has rapidly developed an online Academy.

Our bespoke content is tailored for and often delivered by government communicators. You will get real-life case studies and learn about best practice with tools and models.

Switching to online learning

We are delighted that so many of you are already taking part. In the last three months nearly 4,200 of you have signed up to live webinars, comms exchanges and virtual courses. More and more of you are also starting to use the new on-demand webinars too.

6 members of the professional development team
Jacqueline, Corina, Leona, Martina, Hyo and Stephanie
from the Professional development team

This is a huge testament to your desire to keep improving and developing while working in such difficult times. We are thrilled that  94% of you are saying they will be more effective at your job after taking part.

We cover all the disciplines in the modern communication operating model (MCOM2):

  • internal communication
  • external affairs
  • media
  • marketing
  • strategic communication

And based on your feedback we have introduced lots of new topics including: ‘resilience in the workplace’, ‘crisis communications’ and ‘strategic partnerships’. We are working hard to keep adding to the list as quickly as possible. Next week we will be publishing  recorded webinars on branding and ‘the secrets of speechwriting’.

One of the things you asked for was greater access to senior leaders. Our new conversations with Directors of Communications gives you a chance to hear about the work of a wide range of departments and ask any questions you have.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for us or you. We all know that different departments and organisations don’t currently have access to the same IT. To reach as many of you as possible we use a mix of online conferencing platforms. We have found the majority of you are able to access Zoom via the browser. But sadly not all, in which case people are using their personal devices. 

But even if your organisation is not set up for one of our video conferencing platforms, you can learn at any time using our library of on-demand webinars.

Share your expertise and become a trainer

As the majority of our courses are delivered by internal trainers from across departments and organisations, we want to say thank you. Thanks to all of you who delivered these webinars and courses. And we also want to make a call out for new trainers. Why not share your knowledge and expertise? You will make a difference and feel appreciated.

Ben Stack, Deputy Head of News at the Ministry of Justice, delivered our ‘Introduction to modern media’ course. He said:

“I’ve hugely enjoyed delivering webinars, it has introduced me to some really interesting people and new perspectives and I have learned as much from the many enthusiastic participants as I hope they have from me, as well as getting a valuable opportunity to learn training and presentation skills. The support provided by the GCS Professional Development Team is fantastic, they guide you every step of the way, have all the answers and allow you to focus completely on the content you’re delivering.”

And Dr Laura de Molière, Head of Behavioural Science at the Cabinet Office said:

“The best thing about GCS webinars is that they’re really stress-free. The equipment works intuitively and the professional team is always on site to support at speed. A thoroughly enjoyable experience!”

If you fancy joining our team of trainers and become more confident, contact us. You will learn by teaching and have the opportunity to add it to your Personal Development Plan.

Your feedback matters

Keep giving us feedback and taking part in our evaluation survey when you attend any learning. Without it we won’t know what you need from us or how to keep  improving our offer.

What next 

Finally, having launched the new website, we are now working on GCS Connect with the digital team. GCS Connect is a major upgrade to improve the membership registration and the People Finder, so these have been removed from the website. We expect the roll-out to begin later in the year. 

But for now, you need a password to access learning. It is available from the development adviser in your department, you can also contact the GCS professional development team directly gcs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.