Halle Johnson, Campaign Coordinator Apprentice, Department for Environment, Food &  Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

From the time I was choosing what to do after Sixth Form, I wanted to be in a position where I could both learn and gain on-job experience at the same time. 

This apprenticeship was the perfect combination, as I learn best by being hands on and trying things out for myself. I’m not just taught in a singular setting or format, but instead I’ve learnt many different processes from various teachers who are in the top of their industry and use these skills daily. 

By being a GCS apprentice, I also now have experience of working on real, live strategies and long running campaigns that wouldn’t have been available to me had I chosen another route. 

Specifically, I got to see exactly what goes into making a press release, how we choose an agency and the planning needed before reaching out to external brands or stakeholders. Developing this knowledge now will make it easier for me to use in the future on my career path.

From this apprenticeship, I’ve been able to meet and work with many different professionals around the globe and communicate ideas that make big changes. The people that I’ve met have also helped me to develop my own understanding of how comms works and its many different parts. 

I’ve enjoyed being in a position where I’m constantly encouraged to develop myself and given the ability to work on my own comms projects (for example, National Apprenticeship week posts and Plant Health Week) and see them sent out to the public.  

It feels very surreal to see or hear projects that I started or helped with published on official Government channels or talked about in the media. 

Altogether, I have found this experience essential in helping me to understand public relations and communication in a deeper sense and from a Government standpoint. It’s helped to shape my own professional development with real world cases that I can adapt in any of my future positions. It’s also given me a clearer insight into the topics I’m passionate about and want to take further. 

After having been in the Digital and campaigns teams within DEFRA, I am looking to take what I have learnt forward and expand on these skills in a role where I can use my creativity to help campaigns. 

I’ve particularly enjoyed the freedom to experiment with different social and digital tools and can’t wait to take this further!