GCS Aspire Courses

To book a place on an Aspire training course you must be a GCS member working in the communications team of a ministerial / non-ministerial department or one of their arm-length body organisations, and able to evidence that attending the course is part of a Personal Development Plan signed off by your line manager.

When booking, you need to make sure you receive a confirmation email. If you do not, use your Eventbrite account to check if you do have a ticket, or confirm by emailing gcsbookings@cabinetoffice.gov.uk. Placing yourself on the waiting list does not constitute ordering a ticket.

You need to give GCS at least 2 full working days notice if you need to cancel. You can cancel on both Eventbrite by clicking your account – tickets – upcoming events will be displayed – then click on cancel order or by contacting gcsbookings@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

By not doing this, you are depriving other GCS colleagues of the opportunity to attend these courses, which are in high demand. Failure to notify GCS of your cancellation may affect your department’s allocation of places on Aspire.

Your civil service pass or another form of photo ID will be required to access the venue. If you do not have proof (or it does not match the name you booked under) you may be denied access to the venue and course.

2017 Courses

January 12th

Aspire Course: A Practical Approach to Insight, Planning and Evaluations OC 242 – FULLY BOOKED

Course Summary:

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.


Although primarily aimed at SIOs working in planning, research and evaluation roles who are looking to improve their strategic analysis and insight capabilities, this course will also be useful to G6/7 and IOs who work in similar roles.

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January 15th

Aspire Course: Online Crisis Response and Media Relations OC 243 – FULLY BOOKED


This course is designed for a broad audience of professional government communicators including those who manage media relations, work in strategic or internal communications, or are responsible for corporate communications channels.


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 our 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.

Understanding the nature of crisis

  • Defining crisis and issues, and the need to manage expectations
  • Identifying and prioritising online influencers
  • When and how to respond online

Crisis response in a digital world

  • How crises unfold online: psychological factors, rumours and humour
  • How mainsteam media use digital tools and channels during crises
  • Rebuttal and verification in a social media world
  • Community resilience and harnessing online support

Crisis preparedness and response

  • The core components of a crisis plan: team roles, checklists and default strategies
  • Political, professional and personal: the civil service role in a crisis
  • Assessing digital vulnerability: reviewing risks and expose for the organisation and key individuals
  • Sustaining a response through recovery

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January 17th and 18th

Aspire Course: Introduction to Government Communications – FULLY BOOKED

Who is it for?

This course is for anyone new to government communications. It is specifically aimed at AIO – G7 level, although all grades are welcome to attend.

What Will it Cover
This two day course will give you an overview of government communications and highlight opportunities for career development.

It will also guide you through the OASIS Campaigns model which is designed to aid government communicators to deliver world class communications. The OASIS model should be used by all government communications professionals regardless of discipline, department or grade.

By the end of the course you will:

  • Understand the OASIS model and how to apply it;
  • Have a broad understanding of the four key MCOM disciplines including strategic communications; media, campaigns and digital; strategic engagement; and internal communications;
  • Be familiar with the role and function of the Government Communications Service;
  • Know how you can develop your skills and access learning and development opportunities.

All attendees are required to bring a copy of their corporate/professional objectives, and, if they have already started or completed one, their Professional Development Plan.

There will be an optional social held at the end of the first day.

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