https://dwpdigital.blog.gov.uk/2016/06/28/recruiting-specialists/

Recruiting specialists

Mark Richardson 3

We are really changing the way we work in government IT, moving from outsourced to insourced and jumping generations of technology so we are at the leading-edge of the industry. It’s an exciting and dynamic way of working and we’ve built an established community of Developers, Quality Assurance testers and Web Ops along the way. We’ve got an important job to do, reforming welfare and making a difference to millions of people across the UK and our economy.

We are family

Part of my role is running our Tech Delivery Hubs in Leeds and Manchester, and I’m passionate about building capability across our technology specialisms, so we have the right people in place to deliver. In the Hubs, we are creating teams of people with the right skill-sets for working in an agile environment and across a diverse work programme. We are doing this by recruiting the best external talent to come and work with us and taking on more graduates. We’re also building capability in-house and we have an attractive apprentice scheme.

James Lock cropped

James Lock joined us five months ago as a Senior Software Engineer, having worked in a number of high-profile tech companies including Sky Sports. At 28, James is exactly the type of talent we are excited to have join us, spotting the potential opportunities to work on greenfield projects. James said, “I’m looking forward to developing the apprentices and working as a community to develop systems that are going to improve the lives of millions and millions of people.”

Trail-blazing technology

The technology we’re using is about as modern as it gets: non-SQL databases focusing around Mongo, Java and Node on client side, a range of libraries and the newest and best open-source. We are also working on some massive projects, for example Universal Credit - Europe’s biggest transformation work programme.

Developing our people

As the breadth of work grows, so do our opportunity to nurture and grow capability for our people across locations. The fact that we have two established Hubs in the North is evidence to the importance of positioning ourselves and our skills in the technology market. Our recent blog, Tech’ing it North, talks about the migration of tech developments to the north.

I’m the Head of Profession for Technology Delivery Managers in DWP, bringing together people with those skills across locations, to nurture and grow talent within a community of peers they can engage with. I believe that the approach we have here, caring about building the skills of our people, is markedly different from elsewhere

Attracting talent

We’re visiting universities and colleges up and down the county to raise awareness of government technology work and technology undergraduates are often shocked to realise what we do. We are now about to begin our third year taking on graduates, apprentices and internal trainees, and are improving the learning experience every time. It’s been a big learning curve, but our second year has been much slicker, we’ve broken down the modules into academic and practical work offering the very best opportunities for our new starters.

Ollie and Adam cropped

Apprentices, Ollie Rouse, 20 (pictured on the right) and Adam Robson, 24 both work in the Leeds Tech Hub. Ollie’s in his second year of a WebOps apprenticeship having joined us straight from 6th form. Ollie wanted a career in IT so jumped at the chance of a civil service technology apprenticeship. “I’ve worked on a number of on projects including the production of an online application form and developing several Apps. I really enjoy the variety of work and I’m excited by the opportunities available across the civil service. There is so much to learn while contributing to welfare in the UK.”

Adam’s apprenticeship is in Software Development, which he studied at college for two years. Adam wanted to join us because of the scope of the work. “When I was considering my career I thought about where I’d like to be in five years. I can see that there is a lot of opportunity for progression and for learning. I’ve found my new colleagues to be really supportive and dedicated to developing us.” He said.

Social responsibility

Working in Government technology, compared to the private sector, gives us a huge amount of scope to learn new skills and develop ourselves. We are making massive contributions to the whole of the UK economy rather than most private sector work that generally focuses on how they can make more money. The big kick for me is the opportunity to support our UK citizens through real social change and transformation. I know that when I come to work I’m positively influencing our society and our economy, that’s so much more rewarding than selling stuff. By taking on graduates and apprentices we are doing a good thing socially for the UK, we’re offering great opportunities to our young people, giving them new skills and starting them on a valuable career path.

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