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

November 20th

GCS Webinar: Introduction to Internal Communications – PLACES AVAILABLE

Who is it for?

As part of your development, all government communicators are encouraged to spend some time learning and practising internal communications. This webinar is aimed at IOs and SIOs who do not currently work in Internal Communications, and those new to an Internal Communications role.

This webinar will cover similiar material to the Internal Communications section of Introduction to Government Communications.

What will be covered?

You will learn about the standards, principles and best practice in internal communications as well as its importance as one of the four main specialisms in government communications. At the end of the course:

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

Book Now

November 21st

GCS Aspire Course: How to be Creative in your Campaigns – FULLY BOOKED

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   

What to expect:

  • Participants should bring along examples of priority areas for their organisation that require communications support
  • Some best practice theory presented pragmatically and practically
  • Examples and ideas drawn from the wider world of communications
  • Interactive project work tackling a live brief

What to do:

Please have a think about any communications campaigns you have coming up that require fresh/creative thinking as there will be an opportunity for some attendees to use these when trying out some of the new tools you will learn.

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November 22nd

GCS Webinar: Leadership for Everyone – PLACES AVAILABLE

Modern Leadership theory explores the idea that leadership is not something you are born with, or something you miraculously develop at a certain grade but a set of knowledge, skills and behaviours that anyone can learn. The Leadership for Everyone webinar encourages people who are not in a traditional leadership position to start thinking about leadership and putting some leadership behaviours into practice.

Who is this webinar for?

Anyone who has an interest in leadership but has not had the chance to put it into practice this yet.

What is covered?

A little bit of theory including Daniel Goleman’s Leadership Styles, a chance to explore the skills a leader needs and an opportunity to consider your own leadership journey.

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November 23rd

Aspire Course: Introduction to Internal Communications – PLACES AVAILABLE

As part of your development you will be encouraged to spend some of your career practising internal comms.

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 only.

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.

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

November 23rd

GCS Webinar: Introduction to Communicating Locally – PLACES AVAILABLE

This webinar will introduce you to key concepts 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.

This webinar is suitable for you if:

  • You are a professional communicator who wants to learn more about communicating effectively on a regional and local level.
  • You want to understand the importance of local, regional and hyper-local communications.
  • You want to develop succesful local and regional communications strategies to reach more people with a more trusted message.
  • You want to devleop strategic partnerships and collaborations with partners to deliver tailored, relevant and engaging comms to local audiences.

Book Now

November 24th

Aspire Course: Online Crisis Response – FULLY BOOKED

Audience:

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. 

Course content:

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 main steam 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

Book Now

November 24th

GCS Webinar: Introduction to Behaviour Change – FULLY BOOKED

This webinar will provide an introduction to 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.

This webinar is for you if you are an AIO-SIO interested in learning initial concepts in behaviour change and how these could apply to internal or external campaigns.

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November 27th

Aspire Course: Communicating Locally – PLACES AVAILABLE

How will I benefit?

By the end of this intensive half-day course, you will have learned the value of local communication, and why it’s essential to campaign planning.

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.

The course will include a number of interactive workshops as well as real-life case studies of successful UK Government local campaigns.

Is it for me? Yes if:

This course is suitable for you if you:

  • You are a professional communicator who wants to learn more anout communicating effectively on a regional and local level.
  • You want to understand the importance of local, regional and hyper-local communications.
  • You want to develop succesful local and regional communications strategies to reach more people with a more trusted message.
  • You want to develop strategic partnerships and collaborations with partners to deliver tailored, relevant and engaging comms to local audiences.

Book Now

November 30th and 7th December

Aspire Course: Advanced Campaigning Masterclass – APPLICATIONS CLOSED

This is a single course spread across two days. Attendance on both days is compulsory.

Who its for?

SIO to Grade 6 candidates who are:

  • Actively involved in campaigns as part of their current role (these do not have to include paid for marketing campaigns)
  • Fully familiar with and regularly use the OASIS framework
  • Fully familiar with EAST and Behaviour Change principles

Successful applicants must also have read ‘Campaign It’ by Alan Barnard and Chris Parker prior to the sessions.

Objectives

  • By the end of the sessions, candidates will:
  • Feel more confident to work on campaigns under pressure
  • Have a taster of life in the Prime Minister’s campaigns team
  • Understand the importance of personal and departmental influence
  • Get detailed feedback on their personal presentation style and creative ideas
  • Be able to think strategically whilst ensuring attention to detail

To apply

Please complete the application form [Word doc, 19kb] and send it to Mike Ashworth (mike.ashworth@cabinetoffice.gov.uk) by 12:00 midday on Friday, 10th November (extended from the 7th.)

More information can be found on the Masterclass homepage. If you have any questions about this course, they should be directed to Mike Ashworth (mike.ashworth@cabinetoffice.gov.uk).

December 1st

Aspire Course: Introduction to External Affairs – PLACES AVAILABLE

Who’s it for:

IO – G7 colleagues who are either new to a stakeholder engagement role or need to improve their understanding of this area.

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.

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December 7th

Aspire Course: Creative Content – Photography – FULLY BOOKED

Is there a DSLR in your team’s cupboard, gathering dust, that no one uses and everyone is afraid of?

Do you know what makes a good photo in Government comms and why?

Do you have the kit but need to build your technical skills and gain the confidence to use them?

Or do you want to capture all those missed opportunities on your phone when you’re out with stakeholders, staff or ministers?

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

At the end of this intensive half-day course, you will be able to:

  • Build on your photography skills and confidence
  • Improve the quality of your visual content
  • Find more opportunities for creative storytelling
  • Network with other photographers to pool resources and content

You’ll need to bring the following kit:

  • Camera – DSLR and/or tablet/mobile
  • Clean memory card (and USB adaptor if necessary to download files from it)
  • Laptop (able to access wifi)

Book Now

December 12th

Aspire Course: Strategic Communications – FULLY BOOKED

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.

The course will suit you if:

  • You are ready to move to a more proactive and strategic communication role
  • You know part of OASIS, but want to understand the whole campaign planning process
  • You will be involved in campaign planning and implementation soon
  • You have to advise non-communication specialists on campaigns

What will be covered:

  • The context of government communication
  • Why planning communication strategically is important
  • Strategic planning and strategic plans
  • Setting objectives
  • Identifying audiences and obtaining insight
  • Developing strategy and ideas
  • Implementing plans
  • Evaluation

Book Now

December 15th

Aspire Course: Online Crisis Response and Media Relations – PLACES AVAILABLE

Audience:

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. 

Course content:

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 main steam 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

Book Now

December 21st

Aspire Course: Communicating Locally – PLACES AVAILABLE

How will I benefit?

By the end of this intensive half-day course, you will have learned the value of local communication, and why it’s essential to campaign planning.

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.

The course will include a number of interactive workshops as well as real-life case studies of successful UK Government local campaigns.

Is it for me? Yes if:

This course is suitable for you if you:

  • You are a professional communicator who wants to learn more anout communicating effectively on a regional and local level.
  • You want to understand the importance of local, regional and hyper-local communications.
  • You want to develop succesful local and regional communications strategies to reach more people with a more trusted message.
  • You want to develop strategic partnerships and collaborations with partners to deliver tailored, relevant and engaging comms to local audiences.

Book Now

Aspire Course: Introduction to Internal Communications – PLACES AVAILABLE

As part of your development you will be encouraged to spend some of your career practising internal comms.

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 only.

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.

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

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.

Book Now