Through the GDS Academy, we are helping the government to achieve its ambition to have one of the most digitally skilled populations of civil servants in the world. In recent years, our work has come to serve as an inspiration to overseas governments too.
The GDS Academy has grown rapidly since it was first established at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2014. It has helped to improve the skills of 6,500 civil servants to date. We’re proud to share our expertise and experience, and the things we’ve learnt along the way. Recently, we’ve been collaborating with representatives from the Canadian and Australian governments.
In May 2017, a Canadian delegation visited the London branch of the GDS Academy. We hosted Minister Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, Yaprak Baltacıoğlu, Secretary of the Treasury Board, Alex Benay, CIO of the Government of Canada and Ashley Wright, Policy Advisor to the Minister. During their visit, they attended part of our 3-day ‘Hands-on agile for leaders’ course.
This visit was part of the Canadian government’s work to create a culture of putting the user first and to establish new performance standards.
Following the visit, Scott Brison commented: "If we’re going to raise our game as a government, it means that – as ministers – we need to raise our game as well in terms of understanding digital services." He added: "A government's credibility with citizens rests on its ability to deliver services. In today's world, this means digital services."
A representative of the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) team attended the ‘Hands-on agile for leaders’ course in the Leeds branch of the Academy this November. And, we’ll be continuing to work with the APSC to address their capability challenges in the coming months.
During both the Canadian and Australian visits, we discussed the details of the courses we offer and the importance of meeting demand. We also addressed the best ways to embed learning in the workplace, not only for leaders but for the Civil Service as a whole.
It’s rewarding to be able to work collaboratively with other countries – helping to draw inspiration from each other and further improve the learning and development offer in digital. We’ve learned that we will often encounter similar challenges on our journey, but by working closely with our international colleagues we can help to not only solve them for the UK, but internationally too.
I will be moving across to Australia in spring 2018, where I will continue to share my skills and experience with the Australian government. I’m very much looking forward to building an even closer working relationship.
The GDS Academy is continuing to review its offer to ensure that it has the best possible training available for leaders within the public sector. As we expand nationwide, we’re also progressing our discovery phase to ensure that our future curriculum meets the needs of the Civil Service as a whole.
We would love to hear more from other governments as they build their own learning and development programmes. Feel free to contact us if you would like to share your experience and discuss the challenges and opportunities that your government is facing.