Rufus Duncan – GCS apprentice – MOD 

I’m currently a GCS apprentice in the Ministry of Defence, working in the Events team within the Directorate of Defence Communications as a comms officer. I’ve been an apprentice for over a year now.

To say that I have always planned to do what I’m currently doing would be more than just bending the truth, more so a flat-out lie! One does not expect what something is accurately without having prior knowledge of it – not least a 19-year-old leaving school and joining a Civil Service PR and Communications apprenticeship scheme. 

The University route to a career had always been on my mind going through school but I was never fully committed to it, so I started to look at alternative options.

One of the school parents, who’s currently a press officer within the civil service, knew I was looking at middle-to-high level apprenticeships.  So they recommended the GCS Civil Service Apprenticeship scheme, which started at a Level 4 qualification, – equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree. 

Since joining in November 2021, both I and the demands of the role have changed massively. From dealing with the invasion of Russia in Ukraine to the death of her Majesty the Queen to working on events such as Remembrance Sunday and various NATO operations around Europe.

My first taste of GCS was digital, where I worked on editing and creating publications for the GOV.UK website. It was a small team where before me there were only two members, so I managed to develop my skills rapidly under the team. I was then put into the role of campaigns, one of the largest teams in the department. I then made a detour to the insight, data, and evaluation team before going back to campaigns under the events team.

What has shone through the most, being a GCS apprentice, is the professional freedom that comes with it. It depends on the individual, not the role, how much you are willing to develop your skills and your responsibilities. As an apprentice, you are given a spectrum of opportunities that someone with a permanent role may not necessarily get.

As I’ve only got a little while longer left as an apprentice, applying for communications jobs is a priority. I’m looking at GCS exclusively as the skills I’ve developed are ones that I really want to show other departments that I am able to do and to see what the future of GCS has to offer.