Inspiring young people into tech in the Northeast

A-Level and GCSE students recently brought their enthusiasm to DWP Digital as part of a work placement.

The Strategic Delivery Unit function invited local students to their Newcastle Hub for a week in July, with 11 students from 4 different schools taking part. Students did not need to have any prior experience; this was inclusive invitation to anyone with an interest in technology.

The opportunity was engaging, enlightening, and inspiring for the students, as DWP Digital promoted an interesting range of routes in tech. Students took part in a variety of sessions, including agile games and learning, to demonstrate how we design, build and test software for services used by millions of citizens across the UK. They also learned the importance of user research.

A highlight for the students was the overview of robotic process automation. This involved being tasked with building and programming a robot, ending with an exciting robot football match at the end of the week. Not only learning about what DWP Digital do but giving them the opportunity to get actively involved in project work, developing their teamwork, confidence, and problem-solving skills.

Chief Technology Officer, Craig Eblett also shared his career journey, and they found out about alternative routes into digital careers directly from some of DWP’s existing apprentices.


An impactful opportunity

The students gave great feedback, they even asked if DWP Digital could offer more programming opportunities in the future.

Here’s what some of the students said:

“This experience has been one of a kind, it was informative and a lot of teamwork. I now have a much greater insight into the jobs in tech. I’m forever grateful for the experience I’ve had with DWP Digital.”

“A very enlightening experience, it made me realise the opportunities available.”

Deputy Director and Head of Integration, Jacqui Leggetter, organised and hosted the work placement week. She really enjoyed seeing their confidence grow and was so impressed with their engagement, she wrote a reference letter for each student to help with their future career.

Jacqui reflected on the week:

“It took a bit of innovative thinking to plan a whole week that would keep 16- and 17-year-olds engaged. With help from colleagues across DWP Digital we definitely achieved that. I look forward to seeing some of the students join us as apprentices or graduates in the next few years! It’s safe to say our digital future is in safe hands with these young people.”


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