How the GCS Internship shaped my future

I spent 3 months in the NHS Blood and Transplant’s (NHSBT) Corporate Communications and Marketing team. Fresh out of university, and part way through a Master’s degree, I was very much new to communications and working life in general.  Although daunting at first, I was quickly surprised and reassured by how diverse and exciting the working environment was.

Picture of Lewis Williams

Shaping and breaking news

From day 1, I was welcomed into the beating heart of the regional press office for the West of England. Here, I shadowed a press officer and supported in the writing and sending out of communications to encourage more people to step forward and give blood at donation clinics. This involved contacting potential case studies to craft human-element stories to pitch into hyperlocal, regional and national media outlets.   

Raising the profile of life changing services

While working with the Marketing team, I supported ‘What’s my Type’ events, visiting public places and private organisations to engage with and recruit new potential donors. I even had the chance to test blood types and tell donors how common their type is, and how it could help certain segments of the population.

A highlight was attending the British Transplant Games in Birmingham, as a member of NHSBT’s media team. I met participants who have received lifesaving organ donations and captured their experiences to use as live on the day social media content across @NHSOrganDonor Twitter, and other social media channels. The feeling of seeing my work go live and receiving shares and engagement for the first time was second to none! 

Planning for change

A fulfilling part of my internship was not being made to feel like ‘the intern’. I got to see and take part in what happens behind the scenes within a strategic communications team. I contributed to a forward planning steering group on communicating the then new laws around organ donation. It was here I first learned of the EAST framework, and took part in a discussion on how we could apply this to campaign materials to ensure they were Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely (EAST). 

Career progression

Taking a leap and applying for the GCS internship is easily one of the best decisions I’ve made. My time as an intern at NHSBT, an organisation that saves and improves lives, allowed me to experience the huge impact all the different specialisms within communications can have on driving behaviour change for the good.

Within a month of finishing, I interviewed for roles across the civil service and quickly secured a full-time comms role within the NHS. Four years on, I have spent time working in healthcare and the public sector and am currently a Senior Communications Officer within local government.

If you’re eligible, don’t hesitate to apply. If you study communications or have previous relevant experience, great. If you don’t, you’ll likely have more transferrable skills and knowledge than you think. So far in my career I’ve been surprised at the varied backgrounds that many communicators have. The core skills and knowledge I developed and hold highly today were acquired from my time as an intern.

Good luck!