Intern starter information

A word from the Professional Standards talent team

Welcome to the GCS.

Congratulations on your placement with the GCS. To get you started, this page will give you an overview of the programme and provide you with some useful information for your first days of work.

Take the time to read through this and think about what you would like to gain from your placement, and how you can meet your personal development objectives.

On this page:

The 2021 GCS Internship

The 6 to 12 week Internship scheme will run from July to September. Your role might start or be extended past September depending on your department’s business needs and your availability. This is something to be discussed between you and your line manager.

While many staff have been working remotely over the last year, many are now planning to return to the office. Speak to your team who will be able to give you guidance on working arrangements and discuss your individual circumstances.

If your department would like to have you come into the office for a period of time during your placement, speak to your line manager to make these arrangements and bear in mind that any expenses, including travel, should be discussed with your department before making these plans.

The Internship Offer

Separate from your placement with your department, you will also have access to GCS guides, toolkits and support to help deepen your knowledge of the communication profession.

GCS Academy Courses and Events

As a GCS Intern, you will have access to our free training courses, including podcasts, on-demand webinars, online training courses as well as live training sessions delivered by internal trainers from across departments and organisations. With courses on external affairs, internal communications, marketing, media, and strategic communications, there is a course to help you develop as a professional.

It is not mandatory to attend these training courses, but we highly recommend you take full advantage of the information and resources available.

You will only be able to book GCS courses with a Civil Service email address. To get the Academy’s password, contact gcs-internship@cabinetoffice.


Mentors will be made available to you upon request.

Your GCS Mentor is different from your department buddy. Your mentoring is a partnership where the mentor shares their experience and knowledge with, and acts as a guide and support to, you. The primary purpose of mentoring is to help the mentee develop knowledge, skills and self-confidence, enabling them to make changes to progress positively in their career and personal development.

If you are interested in having a mentor, contact

GCS Career session

There are lots of different roles across the Civil Service. The aim of this workshop is to help you understand the Civil Service recruitment process and understand options to progress your career in the Government Communication Service. The workshop will cover:

  • How the Civil Service Success Profile Framework works
  • What are behaviours?
  • Why and how do we use them?
  • How to use the STAR strategy
  • The most common skills we look for?
  • An overview of the Civil Service application process

Look out for an invitation to this session. You can also find out more about careers in GCS.

Getting the best out of your experience

We want to make sure you are getting the most out of your experience during your placement. The points below act as a starting point.

Induction process

As part of your department induction, you can be proactive by:

  • reading through the Civil Service code, and your department’s culture and values to understand what is expected of you
  • sharing your calendar with your team, ask the team to share theirs
  • scheduling one-to-one meetings with your immediate team to get to know them, and understand their role
  • ensuring you are comfortable with your IT equipment
  • signing up to the GCS Newsletter.

Development and one-to-ones

Both the GCS Professional Standards Team, your department and your line manager will support your development. It is down to you to drive your development and conversations with your line manager.

To make the most out of the Intern experience, you should:

  • Schedule and maintain regular one-to-ones with your line manager
  • Create a personal development plan. You can use this GCS personal development plan template as a guide. Interns are not expected to collect CPD points.
  • Set clear objectives based on what you want to get out of the scheme.
  • Keep a log of your key activities, your learnings and key achievements.
  • Take a look at the list of GCS recommended learning. Note that this learning is not mandatory for Interns.
  • Make the most out of GCS Academy courses and read the relevant guidance on Modern Communications Operating Model (MCOM) guidance.
  • Shadow other teams and departments to get more experience in different areas of the GCS.
  • Instigate a career conversation with your line manager, asking for information on careers in the profession and highlighting any opportunities you are interested in applying for. Read the GCS Career Framework for more information.
  • Network! People are always happy to meet you and talk about their work, so if you meet a colleague who’s role sounds interesting, ask them for a meeting – it could lead to some interesting opportunities.
  • Proactively seek out opportunities to support other teams and departments. There are always volunteers needed for events, and chances to attend events. Asking around gives you a chance to build a strong network which can lead to potential job opportunities.

Intern exit

Towards the end of your placement you will be asked to undertake an end of placement exit interview. This is an opportunity for you to reflect on your time with us. To prepare for the interview, you should:

  • Ensure the exit interview has been scheduled. This will be with your line manager.
  • Review your personal development plan, your objectives, in conjunction with your learning log. Have you achieved what you set out to?
  • Provide feedback on the scheme.

You will also be sent an exit survey from the Professional Standards Team, which will ask for specific feedback. It’s really important for us to get this feedback to help us improve the scheme in the future.

What happens after the Internship?

Whilst we are not able to guarantee a role at the end of your placement, the scheme aims to give you the skills and experience you need to apply for a communications role in the Civil Service.

We will host a careers workshop to help you better understand Civil Service Behaviours and Success Profiles. We also have some great guidance which sets out the different career pathways and career options across the GCS – take a look at the GCS Career Framework to find out more.

Following your internship, you can apply to:

  • GCS Assistant Information Officer (AIO) and Information Officer (IO) recruitment campaigns
  • Entry level communications roles across government

You can find out more about the exciting careers and jobs in the Government Communication Service by visiting the jobs section which is updated weekly with new vacancies across different government departments.

To note, the GCS Internship does not provide a fast pass to any other schemes. The GCS Internship is aimed at students interested in a career in communications and is separate to the Civil Service Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP). We use a streamlined recruitment and selection process so we can encourage a wider pool of candidates to apply.


Across the Civil Service there are a lot of abbreviations and acronyms used to communicate. Don’t expect to know all of these and don’t be afraid to ask what something means! To get you started, here are some of the key terms you will find useful during your internship.

There is a full list of government departments and agencies and you can access all GCS publications including the UK Government Communications plan, branding guidelines, and style guide and an overview of different communication disciplines on the GCS website.

AR – Annual Report
BAU – Business as usual
D&I – Diversity and Inclusion
EOI – Expression of Interest
FOI – Freedom of Information request
MCOM – Modern Communications Operating Model
MOU – Memorandum of understanding
OASIS (campaign planning tool) – Objective, Audience, Strategy, Implementation and Scoring/Evaluation
MoG – Machinery of government
Perm Sec – Permanent Secretary
PN/PR – Press Notice/Press Release
PM – Prime Minister
PO – Private Office
PQ – Parliamentary Question
SpAd – Special Adviser