Reflections on an internship

Beauty Dhlamini shares some thoughts on her summer spent as an intern with the Government Communications Service (GCS), providing valuable support to Her Majesty’s Government and learning a few things along the way…

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Beauty Dhalamini

I have spent the last 4 years in higher education, learning about global public health and understanding its growing importance as a field in the UK. Not only that, I have been supplementing my education with part-time work in various different roles across clinical, research and policy aspects of health. 

During the completion of my masters this year, I realised I was keen to understand how health issues are communicated, and who is involved in these conversations. This led me to the GCS Internship. For any student, becoming an intern is part of the learning process; it opens your mind to different careers and prepares you for some of the things you can expect once you enter the world of work.

I am lucky enough to be doing rotations within the communications team, having spent my first two weeks with the Press Team, before moving on to the Digital Team and then the Marketing Team. The pace of work is quick but everyone has such a laid-back approach encouraging a healthy work life balance.

Life as an intern during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Doing this internship at home has been testing at times, in terms of time management but one skill it has completely enhanced is self-discipline. Attending meetings and working to deadlines from the comfort of your own home is a completely new normal, but one that I am now used to. 

It is important also to highlight just how supportive the GCS communications team is. Not only have all the people I have worked with been extremely welcoming – treating me like one of their colleagues, not just another intern – they have been very generous with their time in giving advice on prospective careers in GCS and my own personal development.

The importance of comms

The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 has exemplified the importance of communications. I saw this first hand previously as a frontline worker, a student and the targeted audience for the ongoing messages being relayed from different angles. 

Since starting my internship with the Government Communications Service I have now gained a practical awareness in real time on how to communicate effectively, and ultimately have an influence in people’s everyday lives.

The great thing about comms

The great thing about communications is that there is no monotonous routine, no two days are the same. My time has been varied – some of the things I have done include feeding into briefs on media handling, writing tweets, posting and monitoring digital content on various social media platforms and contributing to ongoing campaigns. 

Being part of the GCS internship scheme has been a great place to network with professionals in the communications field, but just as importantly with other interns. Everyone has such different experiences and backgrounds, which means they contribute to the scheme in vast and interesting ways – I have learnt so much simply from speaking to people and listening.

Find out more about the GCS internship programme.

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