Connecting young people with government: GCS schools outreach project

Blog post by GCS schools outreach project team

Friday 3 November 2017

We want to inspire young people to take up the challenge of public service and a career in government communications and we need your help.

As part of the GCS Diversity and Inclusion strategy, we’ve created a package for schools using an interactive platform that places young people in the centre of a fictional exercise involving a rapidly-evolving crisis where by working together with other government departments students will coordinate the communications response, averting a national emergency and saving lives in the process – not bad for a day at school.

Trialling this outreach project in five schools and with three internal groups has helped refine our approach. By connecting young people to government, and showcasing careers in communications, we hope to set participants on the road towards a career in GCS and broaden the diversity of our profession.

It’s been a fantastic learning experience for the volunteer project team too who have gained greater insight into their communities and the satisfaction of working with enthusiastic young people, emphasising the relevance of learning, expert knowledge and the importance of communication in today’s world.

This project originated as part of the the GCS Early Talent Programme, with the team applying the knowledge, reflective learning and leadership skills we’d gained from the programme to develop the exercise.

Pilot outcomes in numbers:

44% increase in participants understanding of GCS, from 27% (32) to 71% (85)
48% increase in participants understanding of the Civil Service, from 34% (41) to 82% (98)
27% increase in in those interested in pursuing a career in public service, from 21% (25) before session to 48% (57) after the session.

Qualitative feedback has been unanimously positive. The quote below was from one of our Essex students:

“Before coming today I had my mind set on going to uni to study nursing. After today I’m coming away with different ideas of what I really want to do and I am almost certain I’ll be applying for an apprenticeship in the Civil Service Sector

Teachers were equally full of praise for the session:

I would definitely recommend this programme to other schools. I think it really provides an opportunity for schools, that we couldn’t have organised ourselves, to have the on staff expertise to deliver something like this would be impossible.” Peg Osterman, Emmanuel College, Gateshead

If you would like to get involved in future sessions we’d like to hear from you, for more information and to get involved, contact George.Roe@dwp.gsi.gov.uk