Current courses and events

To book onto an Aspire training course you must be a GCS member working within a communications team for a central goverment department, agency or arms length body.


To book a place on any current GCS Aspire course, see the GCS Aspire Courses page.

Aspire courses

Aspire is a programme of 1,600 free training places consisting of different training modules designed to help make government communications exceptional. On occasion we may charge departments for training and any costs will be made clear before booking.

The programme is designed to be suitable for communications staff at all grades working in central government departments, agencies and arms length bodies.

As places are limited you should make a request for a place with your departmental development advisor who will provide you with a code to make a booking. Cancellations / absentees will be monitored and may affect future allocation of places to departments.

Aspire courses offered are:

  • Advanced Campaigning Masterclass
  • Advanced Strategic Communications
  • Behaviour Change
  • Communicating Locally
  • Creating Content: Photography 101
  • Digital Creative Content Development
  • Empowering Leadership – Creating a Team of Leaders
  • Future Engage Deliver – Leaders in Communications Masterclass
  • Horizon Scanning
  • How to be Creative in Your Campaigns
  • How to Hire an Agency and be a Good Client
  • Introduction to Branding in Government
  • Introduction to External Affairs
  • Introduction to Internal Communications
  • Leading Disparate and Remote Teams
  • Modern Media Operations: A Guide
  • Online Crisis Response and Media Relations
  • Online Marketing
  • Parliament for Communicators
  • Partnerships Training
  • A Practical Approach to Insight, Planning and Evaluation
  • RADA: Presenting with Impact
  • RADA: Presenting with Even More Impact – the Refresher Workshop
  • Resilience – Building Personal and Professional Resilience in an Ever-Changing World
  • Strategic Communications
  • Video

Full descriptions for these courses can be found below.

Advanced Campaigning Masterclass

The aim of this course is to substantially raise the capability, quality and effectiveness of campaigning throughout Government so that it is world class. GCS need to breed a new cadre of intelligent, agile, committed and influential campaigners who can deliver complex policy challenges using advanced tools and techniques as well as demonstrating values and behaviours that enable first class delivery. The course will give future Head of Campaigns and future Directors of Communication an immersive and hands on programme to help them develop as individuals.

Attendance on this course is by a competitive nomination process; more information can be found on the Advanced Campaigns Masterclass page.

Advanced Strategic Communications

This new advanced course will focus on challenges in strategic communication planning; developing a deep understanding of context; meeting the challenge of campaign integration; resource management; coping with complexity and how to act.

*This course will be launching later in the year – we intend to announce dates as soon as possible. If you would like to sign up, email to register your interest.*

Behaviour Change

This course will provide an overview of changing behaviour with government communications. You will learn the framework of behavioural change, insights into what shapes our decision making, and how to apply this knowledge to running effective campaigns.

Creating Content: Photography 101

This Photography 101 course comprises tutorials and practical sessions covering key photography skills using a DSLR camera, top tips for storytelling and lessons learned for those taking photos for Government communications.

Communicating Locally

The course will introduce you to the essentials of local campaign planning including: building successful local stakeholder networks; listening to the voices in your area; working with key partners (including devolved and national governments); identifying effective local channel; tailoring your campaign messaging for local audiences; making the most of traditional and digital low and no cost platforms.

Digital Creative Content Development

Gain a deeper understanding of how the right creative format can help your communications activity have more impact online and influence your audiences.

Empowering Leadership – Creating a Team of Leaders

In this webinar we’ll explore what empowerment means and how you can make it work for your team. You’ll learn how to develop your leadership skills to create a high-performing team of leaders while understanding the pitfalls to avoid on your way to a truly empowered team.

Future Engage Deliver – Leaders in Communications Masterclass

This GCS tailored leadership masterclass aims to inspire communications professionals to deliver more efficiently through better engagement and empowerment.

*This course will be resuming later in the year – we intend to announce dates as soon as possible. If you would like to sign up, email to register your interest.*

Horizon Scanning

Horizon Scanning enables communicators to be better prepared and to take the opportunity to alter plans in light of potential risks and emerging issues. In this half day training course, you will hear what Horizon Scanning is and learn how to implement it with a strong process of intelligence gathering, filtering and reporting. You will also learn some of the academic models that back up the concept and put it into practice in interactive exercises.

How to be Creative in Your Campaigns

The aim of this course is to give participants the know-how to create effective communications campaign plans focusing on addressing policy priorities; present a best practice model for campaigning (OASIS) and give space to practice and experiment with the model.

How to Hire an Agency and be a Good Client

This GCS course is for anyone who will buy communications services using the new frameworks and would like to learn about the changes and improve their knowledge. This three hour course will cover details of what the new frameworks include, why you should use them and when. You will be taken through the process from issuing your brief to awarding the contract. There will be guest speakers from agencies and an interactive session on how to write a good brief.

Introduction to Branding in Government

This course will give you the opportunity to learn about the purpose of branding and the Government’s approach to it. You will also hear from external experts on how some of the world’s most revered brands approach the subject.

Introduction to External Affairs

Strategic engagement is a core pillar of MCOM. Stakeholders have the power to inhibit or accelerate achievement of our communications objectives and can galvanise resources far beyond government. The right approach can make all the difference. Stakeholders can add independent credibility to what we are trying to achieve, facilitate our access to audiences, feedback on the progress of campaigns, flag issues early, and add their expertise to the development of communications and policy.

Introduction to Internal Communications

This GCS course is targeted at IOs and SIOs who do not currently work in Internal Communications (IC) and those new to an IC role. You will learn about the standards, principles and best practice in internal comms as well as the importance of internal comms as one of the four main comms specialisms.

Leading Disparate and Remote Teams

This webinar examines the challenges and opportunities that are faced by leaders in communication teams when they are not always co-located. It explores the evidence of what makes an effective leader of dispersed teams and their role in galvanising the team to be as effective as possible. It also provides practical tips to overcome some of the challenges dispersed teams face.

Modern Media Operations: A Guide

This three hour course will provide an overview for our new Modern Media Operation Guide showcasing best practice. It will cover the important role for media relations in government communications; the particular pressures government media relations officers face, and how to handle them; the need to build relationships – inside the department, as well as outside; and how journalists work and what they’re looking for – and how you can achieve your goals by helping them to get it. It is also offered as a shorter webinar.

Online Crisis Response and Media Relations

This course will include real life examples from the public private sector as well as some useful models and checklists. In three phases spread through the day participants will be asked to work in teams to handle an unfolding fictional crisis scenario using a private online crisis simulation platform, Crisis90.

Participants will be guided through three stages where they will be able to compare their strategic responses, key messages and tactical approaches.

Online Marketing

Join us for an interactive workshop on digital marketing with a focus on audience targeting, digital communications strategies, creative execution and online analytics.

*This course will be launching later in the year – we intend to announce dates as soon as possible. If you would like to sign up, email to register your interest.*

Parliament for Communicators

The best way to understand why Parliament is relevant to all Government communicators is to visit the building – so this session is run as a tour of the Palace of Westminster. The 75-minute tour aims to give communicators a new perspective on Parliament by exploring the relationship between the Commons and Lords as institutions, departmental stakeholders and backbenchers as individuals. Due to restrictions there are only six places per tour.

Partnerships Training

This course is designed to increase awareness and understanding of how successful partnerships can support the implementation of Government communications. It will give best practice case studies from different GCS teams including Business Partnership and GCS Local.


A Practical Approach to Insight, Planning and Evaluation

This course will demonstrate the value and importance of good audience insight as you work through every stage of the OASIS model. This will give you the knowledge, tools and tips that you need to identify, gather and analyse data and apply insightful thinking that will improve your planning and evaluation skills.

RADA: Presenting with Impact

During this experiential course you will investigate your own strengths and weaknesses when presenting to increase your awareness of how you come across. You will explore tools and techniques to enable you to hone and develop your skills and to be able to adapt your presentation style as appropriate for different audiences.

RADA: Presenting with Even More Impact –  the Refresher Workshop

This workshop is aimed at those who have completed the 1 day RADA: Presenting with Impact course. The aim of the workshop is to advance the presenting skills and personal awareness that have been developed by attending the ‘Presenting with Impact’ course. The half day course has been designed to be delivered in small numbers which will help create a safe and intimate environment where the participant will be invited and supported to step out of their presenting comfort zone.

Resilience – Building Personal and Professional Resilience in an Ever-Changing World

Our webinar considers the concept of resilience through a historical and modern day lens and explores the different pressures, challenges and opportunities that arise during periods of stress and uncertainty. Based on academic research and the experiences of respected leaders, it provides practical advice to help develop skills to build resilience both personally and professionally, within teams and organisations.

Strategic Communications

This course will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to design and implement strategic communication campaigns. It is based on the Government’s model for Strategic Communication called OASIS (Objectives,Audiences, Strategy, Implementation and Scoring) and you will have the opportunity to explore its 5 stages in depth.


This is a practical, 2 hour course where you will film and edit video. It is ideal for GCS members working in press office and digital communications, who don’t have a lot of experience (or any) filming and editing. This will show you how to film a short interview, how to set up a good shot, and how to edit and select video clips for use on social media.

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