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.

If you cannot see the course you are interest in listed, email gcsbookings@cabinetoffice.gov.uk stating the courses you are interested in and you will be put on the waiting list – you will then be emailed directly as soon as places are available to register for. Places on courses are offered to waiting lists first and any remaining places will then be advertised here.

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.

    19 July


    Aspire: A Practical Approach to Planning, Insight and Evaluation

    What it will cover:

    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.

    Book Now

    19 July


    Aspire: Creative Campaigns

    This course is for:

    • GCS members who may not have had experience of the campaigning approach
    • Those who have been responsible for the implementation but not necessarily for the planning of communications campaigns  

      Book now

      23 July


      Aspire: Presenting With Impact (Sold out)

      What it will cover:

      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.

      Note: Due to the popularity of this course we require a short business case describing how this course will benefit yourself and your team. Please send this to gcsbookings@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk specifying the 23 July and we will assess it on a case by case basis.

      23 July


      Aspire: 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 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.

      Book now

      25 July


      Aspire: 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 channels
      • Tailoring your campaign messaging for local audiences
      • Making the most of traditional and digital low and no cost platforms.

      Book now

      29 July


      Aspire: Leadership Masterclass – Making time and developing the skills to be a strategic communication leader

      The Handbook of Time! How do we make time and develop the skills to be a strategic communications leader?

      Many leaders feel as though they lack time, and with increasing developments in the way the public can engage and communicate, pressure on time will continue to grow. Communications is no longer about giving messages to audiences but about having conversations with those audiences.  We often found that ‘time’ was seen as some sort of mythical creature, and we are held to its mercy, for better or worse.

      Book now

      29 July


      Aspire: Internal Communications (Webinar) NEW

      At the end of the course:

      • You will have a good understanding of what IC good practice looks like.
      • You will be able to recognise how communication principles and practices translate across from external to internal comms
      • You will understand how media, digital, marketing, strategic campaigns and other comms experience is relevant to internal comms

      Book now

      31 July


      Aspire: Presenting With Impact (Sold out)

      What it will cover:

      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.

      Note: Due to the popularity of this course we require a short business case describing how this course will benefit yourself and your team. Please send this to gcsbookings@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk specifying the 31 July and we will assess it on a case by case basis.

      1 August 


      Aspire: Modern Media Operations

      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.

      Book now

      2 August


      Aspire: Online Crisis Response and Media Relations

      What it will cover:

      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

      Book Now

      7 August


      Aspire: Presenting With Impact (Sold out)

      What it will cover:

      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.

      Note: There is strong demand for this course. We require that you have an actual business need for this course, i.e. you are regularly delivering presentations to stakeholders. 

      A short business case will be required where you should specify your grade, frequency of delivery for presentations and how this will specifically benefit you and your wider team. Please send this to gcsbookings@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk specifying the 7 August and we will assess it on a case by case basis.

      8 August


      Aspire: Introduction to External Affairs

      What it will cover:

      This workshop will give you confidence in all stages of stakeholder engagement. It will outline tools and techniques for assessing and prioritising stakeholders before making an initial approach, establishing and sustaining effective partnerships, and evaluating results. It puts the science behind the art, and offers tips on how best to identify, engage and work in partnership with key stakeholders.

      Book now

      9 August 


      Aspire: A Practical Approach to Planning, Insight and Evaluation

      What it will cover:

      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.

      Book Now

      14 August


      Aspire: Communicating Locally (Webinar)

      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 channels
      • Tailoring your campaign messaging for local audiences
      • Making the most of traditional and digital low and no cost platforms

      Book now

      19 August


      Aspire: Presenting With Impact

      What it will cover:

      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.

      Note: There is strong demand for this course. We require that you have an actual business need for this course, i.e. you are regularly delivering presentations to stakeholders.

      A short business case will be required where you should specify your grade, frequency of delivery for presentations and how this will specifically benefit you and your wider team. Please send this to gcsbookings@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk specifying the 7 August and we will assess it on a case by case basis.

      5 September


      Aspire: Online Crisis Response and Media Relations

      What it will cover:

      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

      Book Now

      9 September


      Aspire: 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 channels
      • Tailoring your campaign messaging for local audiences
      • Making the most of traditional and digital low and no cost platforms.

      Book now

      12 September


      Aspire: Advanced Strategic Communications

      Advanced Strategic Communications is a new course for experienced and/or senior individuals working in Strategic Comms teams. Over the course of this one day course, participants will cover:

      • Challenges in strategic communications planning – setting objectives, the importance of contextual intelligence, and the wider strategic role of communications within government
      • Developing a deep understanding of context – taking an advanced approach to stakeholder relations and analysing networks
      • Meeting the challenges of campaign integration – matching stakeholders with channels, evaluating, and strategies for co-operation
      • Resource management in an uncertain world – budgeting and forecasting in an uncertain world, and critical path analysis
      • Coping with complexity – agile working, and dealing with surprises

      Book now

      16 September


      Aspire: Internal Communications (Webinar) NEW

      At the end of the course:

      • You will have a good understanding of what IC good practice looks like.
      • You will be able to recognise how communication principles and practices translate across from external to internal comms
      • You will understand how media, digital, marketing, strategic campaigns and other comms experience is relevant to internal comms

      Book now

      27 September


      Aspire: A Practical Approach to Planning, Insight and Evaluation

      What it will cover:

      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.

      Book Now

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