Apprenticeship programme information

Information you need to apply for the 2021 Government Communication Service (GCS) Apprenticeship programme.

On this page:

Jatin Nayi, GCS Apprentice at Ministry of Justice

I’m excited about the many more chances that MoJ has in store for me during my time here. I would strongly advise those interested in pursuing an apprenticeship to consider the GCS Apprenticeship programme

Background

The apprenticeship is a development programme and involves having a full time job, as well as completing training courses and assignments to equip you to work in the communications profession. We were involved in creating the PR and communications standard, and were the first organisation to have learners complete the standard.

The apprenticeship is a key initiative in the GCS Diversity and Inclusion strategy aiming to strengthen diversity and representation in our early talent pipeline, from entry-level to senior civil servants. Our scheme aims to bring school leavers and those considering a career change into GCS, to begin a career in government communications.

The apprenticeship is now in its sixth year. The number of apprentices has increased from 19 across 12 departments/Arm’s Length Bodies (ALB’s) in 2016, to a record-breaking 40 apprentices across 24 government departments/ALB’s in 2019. Despite all the challenges we faced during the pandemic, we have placed 35 apprentices across 18 departments.

Successes

The GCS Apprenticeship was awarded ‘Best Apprenticeship Programme’ at the PRCA Internship and Apprenticeship Awards 2019 and shortlisted again in 2020. Read the news article: GCS success at PRCA.

The GCS Apprenticeship was shortlisted at the PRCA ‘PR Internships and Apprenticeships Awards 2020.


Level 4 PR and Communications

You will be working through a level 4 Public Relations and Communications Assistant standard put together by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

During your apprenticeship, you will be exposed to different aspects of the communications profession as well as given training by our apprenticeship training provider, building your knowledge, skills and behaviours to complete the programme.

Towards the end of your apprenticeship, you will be required to complete an End Point Assessment. The End Point Assessment is made up of two components:

  • multiple choice knowledge test
  • work-based project, involving a report, presenting and questioning.

Anyone successfully completing the apprenticeship will be eligible to apply for membership of the Public Relations & Communications Association (PRCA).

What happens after the apprenticeship?

Towards the end of the programme, the GCS Professional Standards team will provide support through interview skills workshops and one-to-one career conversations with the aim to help you progress your career in the GCS.

Throughout your apprenticeship you will be supported by your line managers, the training provider, previous apprentices who have experience of the programme, mentors, and the GCS Professional Standards team.


Tips for applying

You will be required to complete an application form. Successful applicants will then be invited to a telephone interview. Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to a final video interview.

We suggest you:

  • use “I” not “we”: the panel wants to know about what ‘you’ did, not anyone else – only use ‘we’ when it is necessary and relevant to your example
  • read the job description: eligibility criteria and essential criteria multiple times before applying- this is to ensure that you know the role and what would be expected of you
  • link your experience, knowledge and skills to the job advert: transferable skills are important to show what you have previously learnt and how you could use it going forward
  • once completed, refer back to the required skills and check to see you have clearly explained how you meet them at different points in the application
  • make sure all information is current and up to date – this could be your personal statement/CV having the correct information about previous jobs/school grades

Before submitting, always get a second opinion – get someone to have a read over what you have done as they might spot something you haven’t.


How the pandemic will impact your apprenticeship

Amber Warne, current apprentice

“The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 and working within the Hub specifically, has highlighted to me the vital importance of communications”

Read Amber’s experience

During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, we had a cohort of 35 apprentices join across 19 government departments. Departments across government as well as our apprenticeship training provider have been able to successfully move over to remote learning and training delivery whilst maintaining a high standard across the learner experience.

Depending on COVID-19 restrictions remote working will be supported and reviewed alongside government guidance. There may be opportunities to work in the office which you should discuss with your placement manager.

Apprentices have also used social media to keep in touch and create networks across government to support each other through their learning journey within the GCS.

What other apprentices have to say

Kyra Crossley, who is currently working on the News Desk at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, commented:

“For anyone considering the GCS Apprenticeship as part of a career change, I’d definitely recommend applying. This apprenticeship has given me an amazing opportunity to not only earn a salary while learning, but also to work within the heart of government and do something I’m passionate about.”

Jatin Nayi, Digital Apprentice at the Ministry of Justice, commented:

“I left secondary school uncertain about my future, feeling that university wasn’t the best fit for me, and this route stood out because I’ve always taken a more practical approach to learning. The GCS Apprenticeship has so far helped me to explore my passion for creative writing and digital content. I’m able to participate in many interesting projects, work towards a level 4 apprenticeship and earn a salary – nothing better than earning while learning!”

James Carr, GCS Apprentice at National Savings and Investments said:

“I’ve had the opportunity to develop parts of my learning that in the past I’ve always wanted but never had the chance to, for example I’ve learnt a lot about video production and editing which I now regularly use in my day-to-day role.”

The GCS Professional Standards team look forward to welcoming you to the GCS and will support your induction through to next steps with a careers workshop towards the end of your scheme.