The Government Communication Service (GCS) internship offers a unique opportunity to develop your skills and the chance to work across a wide range of communications disciplines, delivering cutting edge work for the UK government.

Applications for the 2020 Internship are now closed.

6 to 12 weeks paid internship

We offer a 6 to 12 week paid internship within either a government department or public body. This will give you experience in what it’s like to be a government communicator in the Civil Service. 

You will be subject to an intensive programme of communications profession activities. This includes a one-day induction into the Government Communication Service. You will get communications training sessions, a careers workshop and attend networking events.

Salary: £350 per week.

Location: most placements are in London. You may also get a position across the UK. If you are available to work in other cities apart from London, state this when filling in your application. Note that we cannot guarantee that we can match you to your preferred option.

Internship description

We are looking for motivated students interested in a career in government communications. You must be passionate about working on important issues.  You will work across a wide range of communications disciplines and help deliver cutting edge work for the UK government. 

You will contribute to exciting new ideas and real issues that affect real people. You could find yourself:

  • conducting research and analysing audience insight;
  • assisting with the creation and implementation of campaigns;
  • creating innovative content for social media; 
  • working in a busy media office and with senior officials;
  • organising events across the UK;
  • providing project support; or
  • working on a major staff engagement programme.

Recruitment process and assessment criteria

  • An online test
  • Your CV and statement of suitability
  • Telephone interview

You will be assessed according to the following competencies and behaviours:

  • Seeing the bigger picture (Level 1)
  • Working together (Level 1)
  • GCS Technical Competency framework – Insight (Level 1)

You need to refer to the GCS Competency Framework and Success Profiles – Behaviours for more information.

Successful candidates will be:

  • Interested in news stories and have an understanding of current affairs;
  • Able to determine appropriate communication tools and channels to deliver key messages;
  • Able to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of campaigns;
  • Flexible, proactive and able to work under pressure to deadlines;
  • Passionate about making a difference;
  • Good written and oral communicators;
  • Organised and creative; and
  • Able to show the ability to work effectively, independently and as part of a team

Due to the high number of submissions, we are unable to provide feedback to candidates who are unsuccessful in the application sift.

Eligibility: who can apply

The GCS internship is aimed at students from diverse backgrounds at the university level or completing a degree equivalent qualification (NVQ level 6). 

You need to refer to the eligibility criteria set out in the candidate information pack. 

To apply, candidates must:

  • Be in their final two years at university or a 2019 graduate – in a communications-related subject (awarded or expected) or 
  • Be working towards a degree equivalent qualification (NVQ level 6)
  • Meet the nationality requirement and the right to work in the UK requirement: Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non-EEA nationals.
  • You must be a British citizen to work in some placements, and additional clearance checks may be required depending on your placement. Please note your placement and start date is dependent upon completion of security clearance.

Candidates must also be from one or more of the following backgrounds:

  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)
  • Lower socioeconomic background
  • Care leaver background
  • Candidates who consider themselves to have a disability

We assess social and economic background using questions based mainly on family background.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria. Providing you meet these minimum criteria, we can guarantee you a telephone interview.

Contact the Government Recruitment Service by email before the closing date to discuss your needs or any reasonable adjustments.

Security Clearance

Your placement and start date are dependent upon successful completion of security clearance.

Recruitment timeline

The timeline and process are subject to change:

  • Application deadline: 20 December 2019
  • Expected telephone interviews: February 2020
  • Matching and job offer: March 2020
  • Pre-appointment checks: March 2020
  • Begin roles: July 2020, with opportunities to start placement earlier

Tips on applying

A past intern lets you know what to expect when applying for the GCS Internship and provides some tips to help you along the way.

The Government Communication Service (GCS) Internship a great opportunity to develop your skills and prepare for a career in the communications profession. As part of the Civil Service commitment to become the UK’s most diverse employer by 2020, the internship is a gateway for students from diverse backgrounds into the Civil Service.

Applying for the GCS internship is a straightforward process, but to be successful you need to put a lot of thought into your application. This document will give you an idea of how the application process works and offers some advice to give you the best chance of securing a place on the scheme.

Before applying

The first stage of the process is to complete an application made up of a CV, diversity questionnaire and application form, consisting of some competency-based questions. Before drafting your answers to the competency questions, read the Civil Service Competency Framework and the Government Communication Professional Competency Framework.

When applying to this internship it’s helpful to look at what is considered ‘effective behaviour’ for staff at Level 1 and Level 2. The framework describes what demonstrating the competencies looks like in practice and can give you an idea of how to show you are competent in these areas. Be careful, however, that none of your answers sound like a rewording of the competency descriptions: there’s no buzzword checklist you need to complete. Instead, focus on a specific example for each question that links naturally to the competency that is being assessed.

When applying

Once you’ve decided on an example, use the STAR method to structure your answer.

Focusing on the Situation, Task, Action and Result of your experience gives you the best chance of providing the person reading your application with all the information they need. Make sure you identify what you personally contributed and learnt rather than talking in general terms about a project. A good way to ensure you do this is to use the word ‘I’ instead of ‘we’ throughout your answers.

Don’t be afraid of using examples from contexts that might not initially come to mind as relevant to working in communications or the civil service. I’ve answered competency-based questions using examples such as waitressing, tutoring and volunteering to help run employability workshops in prisons. As a diversity internship, this scheme is looking for people from different backgrounds and with diverse life experiences. If you’ve done something interesting or exciting that helped you develop a particular skill, it’s relevant.

If this is one of the first times you’ve answered competency-based questions, consider asking a careers adviser at your university to read over them (and take your CV too). Doing this gave me much more confidence in my answers and discussing my experiences out loud turned out to be very beneficial going into the telephone interview. Unlike many internship application processes, you do not need to complete online tests! If you get through the initial sift, the next and final stage of the application is a telephone interview. The decision to not use online tests was made by the internship team in the hope of attracting the widest pool of candidates
possible. This is a great reminder that the application process is not designed to try to catch you out, but an opportunity to share why you’ll make a great intern.

Telephone interview

When preparing for your telephone interview, think again about the competencies and your motivation for applying. Although it is the job of the internship team to match you with a government department, you should be able to articulate what it is about the Civil Service that appeals to you and this might include where your dream placement would be. Also, think about why you want a career in communications and why you chose the GCS as the place to start. Have a good look around the GCS website to see what current communication topics and disciplines within communications sound interesting to you. I also recommend taking advantage of the fact that the interview is over the phone by having some key points written down in front of you that you hope to communicate to the interviewer.

Receiving an offer

At this point, you’ve done all you can. If you pass the telephone interview you will receive an email with a job offer detailing which department you’ve been paired with. Your line manager will then contact you about organising your start date and obtaining security clearance. Make sure to be on top of your emails so this process is as quick as possible. Good luck!

By Claire Madeley

Applications for the GCS Internship have closed.


Apply to the Government Communication Service Internship (on Civil Service Jobs): Applications for the 2020 Internship are now closed.

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