Early professionals initiative launched to drive innovation in public

4 February 2019: Her Majesty’s Government joined today with techUK, the leading voice of the tech industry, to launch a new programme to encourage collaborative working between early professionals working in Government and its technology suppliers. The Tech Connect programme aims to inspire early professionals in Government to ensure the design and delivery of future digital public services is technologically innovative.  

The inaugural 2019 programme will consist of a cohort of 38 early professionals enrolled equally from the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Fast Stream and techUK’s Public Services Board (PSB) member firms. The cohort will visit different PSB member firms to experience the latest tech developments first-hand, meet delivery teams and observe client collaboration approaches used in industry. Concurrently, the early professionals will also divide into six teams to work on different public service challenges culminating in a competitive presentation “pitch day” attended by senior officials and executives the PSB.

The programme is an initiative developed by techUK’s Public Services Board in partnership with Jacky Wright, HMRC’s Chief Digital and Information Officer.  

Commenting on the launch:

Jacky Wright, Chief Digital and Information Officer, HM Revenue and Customs, said:

“Participants will learn what effective collaboration between government and industry looks like, and how leveraging the skills of the public and private sector can produce outcomes of lasting value for the government.

I am very excited about the launch of this programme, which will allow early career colleagues in both private and public sector to learn from each other, work together in innovative ways, and develop supportive networks and ongoing relationships. By working in true partnership rather than competition, and supporting greater collaboration, we can encourage innovative, solution-focused thinking among the Civil Service’s future leaders and create the digital organisation that we need for the future.”


Julian David, CEO, techUK, said:

“Transitioning to a digital-first approach to public services is essential if we are going to ensure they are sustainable in the long term. This initiative provides a much needed bridge between industry innovation and Government. Creating a collaborative partnership in the early stages of a professional career will greatly improve our public services delivery and  the experiences we all have as citizens. Our members are delighted to welcome these bright minds into their organisations and play a part in building the next generation of world-class public services.”


Sharon Bagshaw, techUK Public Services Board, Skills lead and IBM’s Vice President UK Public Sector:  

“The digital transformation agenda is fuelled by emerging digital technologies and platforms such as: AI, Blockchain, Data Science and Cloud. To deliver success it requires a new generation of digital skills across government, the wider public sector and private sector. 

I, along with my fellow TechUK Public Sector Board colleagues, am thrilled to see the programme launching following an initial pilot IBM ran with UK Government back in 2016. What's so exciting about the programme is that it brings together early career professionals from a diverse spectrum of the public and tech industry to work together on real public services problems in a competitive environment. These are the new generation of workers who will be tasked with driving the digital transformation agenda over the next few years. The experience, skills and networking they will gain from the programme will be invaluable."


Kevin Cunnington, Head of the DDaT Profession and Director General, Government Digital Service, commented:

“This is an exciting initiative which helps build skills and capability within the Civil Service. This programme is the latest example of our continual collaboration with the wider industry to help make government work better for everyone.”

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