The positive support and encouragement is something I feel is key to the GCS and Civil Service 

My current role as a Government Communication Service (GCS) apprentice is in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) with the Newsdesk team.

I am in an interesting position where I have graduated from university and I also have experience of doing this Level 4 apprenticeship. When I left Sixth Form it is fair to say I was completely unsure on what career I wanted to end up doing, and university felt like the safe route for me to go down so I could continue studying subjects I love. However, part way through my degree I realised that the university structure wasn’t for me and wanted to earn whilst I learnt instead. This is why I looked at apprenticeship opportunities once I had graduated.

I had originally wanted to do a journalism apprenticeship, but after speaking with a friend, they gave me some advice and suggested that I should look into PR and comms apprentices instead. I really wanted a career where I would be able to combine my passion for politics and government with my passion for creative writing, and that was when I stumbled upon the GCS apprenticeship.

Having experienced both options after Sixth Form, whilst I did enjoy my time at university, I feel that the hands-on experience I have gained with GCS has been invaluable for my future career. On the Newsdesk, we are essentially a traditional press office, where we act as the go-between for journalists and the rest of the FCDO, covering a wide range of issues every day.

It might sound cliché, but truly no two days are the same – one day we are dealing with journalists’ queries about consular cases, and the next we are dealing with queries regarding FCDO spending. I have also been here when the Foreign Secretary was being questioned at the Foreign Affairs Committee, and I had the responsibility of monitoring the press coverage.

I have found that the GCS team supporting me and my colleagues in the FCDO do care very much about my experience and success as an apprentice who has never been in this industry before. I have been encouraged to get experience in as many teams as I would like and I have the freedom to take on tasks that are going to be beneficial for my progression.

I have also found that my achievements are recognised and I was nominated as Press Officer of the Week. This kind of positive support and encouragement is something I feel is key to the GCS and Civil Service, and I would highly recommend it to anyone!

– Rachel Murray, GCS Apprentice, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office