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Insights from an apprentice and their line manager

Blog posted by: Paige Anderson and Tom Durham, 07 February 2024.

A fantastic opportunity!

– Paige Anderson, GCS Apprentice in the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

I’m Paige and I am an apprentice in the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). This GCS apprenticeship is a great opportunity to gain experience in the workplace as well as learning more about the comms industry through the course.

Every day is different depending on the team you’re in and the current affairs. I am currently in the London office 3 days a week which is great! My workday always starts with press office meetings, various stand-ups (quick meetings), and these depend on the team you’re in at the time, and a check-in with my line manager. This helps me plan my apprenticeship tasks and activities in line with the work I do in the department.

Whilst I went to university to study Linguistics, the thing I enjoy most about this apprenticeship is that I’m always learning and gaining skills through work experience, not just in a classroom! To think that the projects I’ve helped with are published and spoken about in the wider media amazes me the most. 

There are so many benefits and I think the best one is the ability to jump from team to team. You’re encouraged to explore as many of the comms departments as possible, allowing you to gain experience on a wide range of projects. It’s perfect if you don’t know what you want to specialise in.

The support I’ve received from my department is incredible, encouraging me to work on a bunch of projects specifically for my apprenticeship portfolio, whilst ensuring I have the time and capacity to complete the academic tasks.

I’m looking forward to learning and working in different comms teams such as digital, internal and press. The most interesting thing that I’ve taken part in so far, is helping film training for a campaign, and planning and going on a ministerial visit!

Whilst the application process can feel long, it’s really quite short. After application and interview, you’ll hopefully receive a provisional offer with security checks, and finally an official offer with contact details of your line manager – get in touch with them! My top tips for applying are to be yourself, and always think about the audience. Best of luck – the GCS Apprenticeship Programme really is a fantastic opportunity!

An opportunity to develop and support an apprentice

– Tom Durham, Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

I’m Tom and I line manage Paige in DLUHC. Taking on Paige as a GCS apprentice has been good – for the team, for me as I develop as a manager, and for Paige (as you can read in her bit!).

I work in the strategic communications team with a focus on campaigns helping social housing tenants raise issues and make complaints. Paige joined when we were developing pitches for campaigns in the next financial year.

She’s made valuable contributions – summarising our pitches so the team has the facts to hand, setting up a weekly digest email of social housing stories to keep everyone informed, and supervising filming – to name a few!

If I’m frank, she’s surprised me a few times. Good surprises, thankfully! One example, which sounds trivial but really helped, is when Paige persisted with securing a parking space for a film crew and their kit on a day of filming for a campaign. We knew getting a space in the office would help to keep us to schedule and save us money, but I’d been told none were available the day before. Paige took the initiative and asked again on the morning of filming, when I was busy, and luckily a space had become free. Getting the film crew a parking space contributed to us having a smooth day of filming.

Taking on Paige has made me think about how I work too. Line management is always partly about developing people, but an apprenticeship is about that a little bit more. I think I have a few roles: setting up Paige to do well at work, thinking of the team’s needs, supporting her so she completes her course, and setting up placements to get experience that will help with her course and career. There’s a sweet spot somewhere in this mix and it’s got me on my toes.

If you’re not sure an apprenticeship is the right choice, I’d encourage you to think again. And I hope telling my side of the story gives government teams some useful insights. It’s ok to decide that it’s not your bag, but take a proper look… and then look again. You might just find there’s a space for you!

Submit your bid for an apprentice to join your team!

Hosting an apprentice is a rewarding experience for your whole team. You will not only be helping support the next generation of communications professionals, apprentices can also add real value by contributing exciting new ideas to a variety of projects.

Bids should be coordinated between directors, development advisers, and HR teams for each department, and the number of bids confirmed, before being submitted. Please submit bids by completing the bid form by Friday 23 February 2024. 

Please submit any questions you have about the apprenticeship to gcs-apprenticeship@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

 

Channel website: https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/blog/insights-from-an-apprentice-and-their-line-manager/

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