The GovTechTalent programme has introduced 3 intakes of graduates to digital and data. Graduates are chosen not just for their superb academic achievements but how well they work with others, their interests and personalities.
This diverse group experience 3 rotations across any of 8 agencies over 2 years. The calibre and talent of these grads has produced a core of sought after public servants. The first cohort were all employed at the end of their 2 years and this success shows the recipe is working.
Laura Brown who is in her second year working in the heart of digital government, in her case the office of the Chief Government Digital Office (GDCO), tells us about her experience.
Being a new grad
A grad programme is more than just providing a work programme for someone starting their career journey but also about providing a support network for them to settle into their exciting new environment.
A new grad has probably had little to no professional workplace experience and quite likely won't have worked a 9-5 week before and so may require a little extra understanding and patience than your usual new employee.
This understanding is especially beneficial when you are less practiced in the area and may possibly be prone to making the odd minor mistake. But most of all, I’ve found this grad programme is incredibly useful as a first real world experience.
Which is very useful as a lot of jobs require at least two years′ previous experience - which can get someone caught up in knots if they attempt to infiltrate the workforce without making use of a good grad programme first.
GovTechTalent goes beyond offering their grads an experience in one area of an organisation but gives you the opportunity to explore and dip your toes into 3 government agencies across 2 years and with the possibility of working with more.
This means there is almost an endless pit filled with opportunities for work, networking and gaining an understanding of how government operates. Now that the programme has its own alumni, there are plenty of other grads that are all in the same teeming boat to empathise with one another and celebrate each other's achievements, no matter the size of the success.
To name a few of the exciting things I've been involved with so far over my first year with GovTechTalent; I've worked with Stats NZ's innovation lab, Data Ventures, assisted in putting together and running a hackathon (you may have heard of it, DataLand NZ), getting to meet some very exciting people from all sorts of backgrounds including some working in innovation labs and in the open data space. I've even been able to assist in raising money for Women's Refuge through the DIA's Women's Network.
Along the way I've also had some achievements to be proud of like co-creating a section of an intranet page, facilitating wellbeing workshops with grads, assisting with a visit from the CEO of Singapore GovTech and assisting with the induction week for the latest set of grads coming through the programme.
Being a recent grad there were some challenges in joining the workforce such as gaining an understanding of how to prioritise your work, meetings being cancelled or postponed at the last minute and the change of priorities.
One of the tougher challenges I've faced, upon realisation, is the importance of understanding context fully and that not everyone is as excited as yourself about the work you're doing. This has the potential to lead to unexpected difficulties if you don't know their context. But how are you meant to learn and further your development without facing any challenges? Then life would be easy, and if life is easy then (I’m told) life is boring.
Looking to the future
In future I will be looking for work with a focus on the environment and sustainability, which I suspect will come in the form of being in government, an NGO or a not-for-profit organisation.
Wherever I end up though I'll be taking with me a vibrant network of grads and the like, a better understanding of how government works and a passion to leave the world a better place than I found it.