Apprentice life in GCS: no two days the same

Jade Oni, an apprentice on the multiple award-winning GCS programme, shares her own story of what working in government communications means to her as we mark Black History Month.

I began my apprenticeship in October 2020 in the Digital Communications team of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Having finished my studies mid-pandemic and seeing first-hand the success of the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) response, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of communication and the public sector.

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking and challenging even in the best of situations. When combined with the nerves of joining remotely due to the pandemic and the acknowledgement that you are likely to be one of few minorities in the team.

I was initially intimidated and slightly fearful, but as soon as I started I was glad to feel exactly the opposite. I was welcomed into a team who were and still are: supportive, welcoming, and consistently encourage me to succeed.

The opportunity to work for the central government while learning the theoretical framework of the communication profession has been fantastic. The structure of our course has allowed me to prioritise work while providing time to study and develop. I enjoy that no day is the same, one day I may work on channel strategies and the next edit video case studies.

The GCS apprenticeship has allowed me to explore my passion for content creation and digital. From the beginning, I have worked on meaningful campaigns, and my manager has given me responsibilities that have enabled me to grow quickly as a comms professional.

One highlight has been working on vaccine-related comms; we created several pieces of content highlighting the success of UK vaccine manufacturers. The work was both exciting and beneficial; I interacted with cross comms colleagues, Arm’s Length Bodies and external stakeholders, allowing me to network with a wide range of people.

The apprenticeship has laid the foundations for me to begin a successful career in government communications. I am proud to work in the Civil Service, aiding impactful campaigns and behavioural change. Looking ahead, I would like to see an increase in the ethnic diversity of employees in leadership positions. Having senior civil servants who look like me serves as motivation that I too can one day reach that position.