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Programme steers millennials to be part of the government’s ICT and digital strategy

Programme steers millennials to be part of the government’s ICT and digital strategy

Participants to the inaugural ICT and Digital GovtTech Talent Graduate Programme will work across three of seven central government agencies for two years.

It’s a key part of the work we’re doing to grow digital skills and build future leaders.

Sonitha Aniruth, Department of Internal Affairs

Seven central government agencies have banded together to launch the ICT and Digital GovTech Talent programme.

The programme will involve 15 graduates, who will spend 24 months working through three of the seven participating government agencies - eight months in each.

The agencies behind the programme are the Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Business and Employment, Ministry for Primary Industries, Ministry of Education, New Zealand Transport Agency, Statistics New Zealand and the Inland Revenue Department.

Students in their final year of tertiary study in 2016, or recent graduates with up to 24-months work experience, can apply for the programme until 12 October.

The Department of Internal Affairs is the host agency for the programme, which will start in February 17.

Sonitha Aniruth, manager ICT leadership capability and workforce, at the Department of Internal Affairs, states that this is an exciting opportunity to build workforce capability and encourage innovation in the public sector, as well as introduce graduates to potential careers in government.

“It’s a key part of the work we’re doing to grow digital skills and build future leaders and is an excellent example of how agencies are working together.”

Craig Soutar, CIO, New Zealand Transport Agency, says the agency is excited to be one of the pilot organisations in the programme.

Demand for these types of skills will only increase with Government expectations of ICT as an enabler of radical transformation of public services, along with the challenges and opportunities arising from digital disruption.

Craig Soutar, NZ Transport Agency

“We have an ambitious programme underway that includes modernising significant IT infrastructure, adopting the cloud, taking advantage of the opportunities that the internet of things offers and enabling trusted access to transport information,” Soutar says.

“One of our ongoing challenges is hiring smart and innovative people to work on this programme.

Read more: Tapping into the positive side of change resistance

“We know that we share this challenge with the rest of the public sector. Demand for these types of skills will only increase with Government expectations of ICT as an enabler of radical transformation of public services, along with the challenges and opportunities arising from digital disruption.

“We see the GovTech Talent Programme as critical to growing the type of information and technology workforce that we will need to be successful.

“We also know that while this will be good for us, it will be good for the public sector too. This is a long-term investment in our public sector capability, which will reap rewards for many years to come.”


We want to make a real impact, to support the future growth of the public sector, says Nuwanthie Samarakone, founder and CEO of Ice Professionals, which has designed and will deliver the programme.

“The government needs that young talent to help innovate to that next level,” she says.

“We are looking at building capability, not just for the next six months, but for the next three to five years.”

“The commitment from DIA to take on the pilot as the coordinating lead agency is commendable," says Candace Kinser, an advisor to Ice Professionals on the programme.

“The support over the past years from key ministers in central government, to rally for more focus on technology education and graduate school funding in the ICT space is definitely having a positive effect,” says Kinser, who was former NZTech CEO and is now an advisor to a number of technology companies in New Zealand.

Kinser says today’s graduates would typically find work within corporates and startups, and would go overseas if they can not find anything. “We lose that valuable talent.”

Nuwanthie Samarakone
Nuwanthie Samarakone

We are looking at building capability, not just for the next six months, but for the next three to five years.


“Digital GovTech Talent programme will give opportunities for students, particularly for technology and business graduates, to be able to stay in New Zealand and experience a unique career path in the public sector.”

The programme is open to graduates from a range of disciplines, not just from business technology.

“The reality is technology is so wide, it can take anybody from marketing, business, right through to accounting and law," says Kinser. "If they want to go into technology, that is fantastic. If they want to go into policy, that is great as well.

“We are not just one company or one organisation that does one thing,” Kinser says in regards to the work experience the graduates will take in.

“When they come on board, these graduates can go through a variety of work environments, while experiencing different organisational cultures.

“They will have a good exposure to a variety of verticals.”

Candace Kinser
Candace Kinser

Digital GovTech Talent programme will give opportunities for students, particularly for technology and business graduates, to be able to stay in New Zealand and experience a unique career path in the public sector.

The seven departments have identified six areas in which the graduates will work on:

Security: Advising business managers on the risk profile and environmental conditions for managing information, data and service design.

Information and data: Collating and presenting information
and data in a consumable way to help decision makers understand the choices they are making.

Project delivery: Delivering and monitoring projects, with the goal of maximising value from technology investments to meet customer needs.

Technology: As a ‘business technology translator’, helping business managers understand the opportunities that technology enables to deliver customer centred solutions.

User Experience (UX): Working on the design of services to the public and finding the balance between an elegant look and feel, and the necessary information and services presented to users.

Digital Integrator: Using digital tools and infrastructure to offer users an enhanced and unique experience of public services, as well as facilitating and supporting the shift of government services to the cloud.

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

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Tags e-governmentwellingtonDXinnovationMinistry of Business and EmploymentIce ProfessionalsNew Zealand Transport AgencyDepartment of Internal AffairsStatistics New ZealanddigitalNuwanthie SamarakonetransformationMinistry of Educationgovernment CIOAshley Mudfordpublic sectorCraig Soutarinland revenue departmentMinistry for Primary IndustriesCandace Kinsermillennialsgeneration ycx

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