Making the Department for Work and Pensions the best digital employer in the North

Kirsty Styles, September 26, 2017 2 min read

This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.

When you hear the words ‘Department for Work and Pensions’, you’re excused for thinking of dole queues, politicians arguing over winter fuel payments and besuited civil servants in Westminster.

But they are just the images Newcastle Northern Voices participant Claudia Wootten is fighting to change in her role as DWP Digital’s lead on attracting new people to work in the organisation.

DWP Digital is currently hiring 680 people, predominantly in the North, to help it transform its services for the 21st century.

That means not only trying to find a lot of people in ‘digital skills gap’ Britain, but also that those being hired are more representative of the people they’re building the products for, often the most disadvantaged in society.

“Government hasn’t traditionally been seen as an excellent place to forge a digital career,” Wootten admits.

“But we need people to know that the technology and the ambition we have make it a really exciting place to be, as well as being a place that’s friendly to all aspects of diversity.”

As part of her work, Wootten has lobbied internally to recreate Tech North’s Northern Voices programme as a DWP Digital-wide initiative to make diverse people in the team more visible internally and externally.

“One of the ways we are going to encourage women outside of DWP to want to come and work with us here in DWP Digital, is to actively demonstrate what an exciting, technically interesting and supportive place DWP Digital is for women,” Wootten says on the GOV.UK blog.

“And, we can demonstrate this by getting the women in DWP Digital out there and visible talking about their experiences and opportunities.”

Wootten has spent almost 30 years working in technology and seems to be as enthusiastic about her career as she might have been when she set out, all without the A Levels or university degree that often stop great people getting their feet in the door.

By day, she’s leading the implementation of a new communications and collaboration platform that will help DWP transform what it does. But today, she’s hosting the Digital Workplace and Technology Platform team’s annual get together this week, putting her Northern Voices training to good use in front of the 300-strong crowd.

DWP Digital has more exciting northern opportunities on the horizon as it starts to bring many of its staff in the North West into a newly designed high-tech hub in Manchester city centre.

Book Claudia to speak at your event

As well as being an expert on all things diversity in tech, Claudia is also able to speak on digital transformation, large-scale software implementation and government IT. You can see more about Claudia on her profile page, or book her for a public speaking slot or media appearance today.

Startup stories, Women in tech, Newcastle, North East