Senior high potential under-represented talent programme open for government communicators

Applications open on 21 September for the 2021 cohort of the Government Communication Service’s (GCS) talent programme, Power of Choice, for senior high potential under-represented talent. Nominations close at 11.55pm on 12 October.

The scheme is for government communicators working at grades 6 and 7.

A previous cohort from the Power of Choice programme. Nearly a quarter moved into roles at Senior Civil Service level.

The programme is designed to accelerate and retain high potential talent from a self-identified ethnic minority background, and create a more diverse Senior Civil Servant (SCS), ensuring the GCS reflects the diversity of the population we serve.

The programme’s principle is that accelerating under-represented talent and creating a representative, inclusive GCS that delivers diversity in all its practices, is a shared responsibility. Reflecting this, the programme involves both participants and their line managers, working in parallel programmes.

The 6-month programme equips participants to drive their personal and professional success, creating practical steps to become future leaders of the GCS.

It consists of:

  • a modular programme
  • 1-2-1 coaching
  • 360 leadership feedback
  • senior-level sponsorship

Cheryl King-McDowall, Deputy Director Reshaping GCS commented:

“This was the first time I attended a parallel programme with a colleague I managed. It was great to have been such a close part of their learning journey and it meant we could share experiences as minority ethinic colleagues, learnings from the programme and its impact on us. This made it a unique and beneficial experience for us both.

“The approach of bringing together participants, their managers and senior leaders creates an environment of shared responsibility. My advice to managers is to attend all modules, be an active participant and use the opportunity to reflect on your own leadership style and behaviours.

“I’ve learnt so much from the programme myself and will use this to continue to support the development of colleagues, especially those from underrepresented groups. I would encourage colleagues to apply.”

As the first senior-level diversity-focused talent programme for the profession, the Power of Choice launched in 2020, and has since seen nearly a quarter of the first cohort move into roles at Senior Civil Service level.

Natasha De-Bique, Head of Marketing Activation at Public Health England and a member of the first Power of Choice cohort said:

“Participating in the Power of Choice programme has been a pivotal moment in my career and has been instrumental in helping me make the switch from ‘management’ to ‘leadership’.

“Every session has been thought-provoking and I have definitely been employing the tactics presented in my role. The biggest impact so far, on a personal level, has been the time and thought I have been able to dedicate to my leadership journey, and I have valued having protected time for self-examination. The peer accountability groups, coaching and 1:1 sponsorship sessions with my Marketing Director have been invaluable.

“The programme was cleverly executed so that line managers follow the course along with participants to foster a sense of shared understanding, which is a key point of difference with this course. I am a huge advocate of the programme. I feel privileged to have participated in the pilot and would encourage people to apply.”