Return to Work - ICT: Candidate Information Pack

Return to work - ICT - Candidate Information Pack front cover
ICT is one of four Return to Work programmes developed by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Government Equalities Office (GEO). The programme is designed to help experienced ICT professionals return to work after a career break and join local government.

What is the Return to Work – ICT programme?

Return to Work – ICT is one of four Return to Work programmes developed by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Government Equalities Office (GEO). The programme is designed to help experienced ICT professionals return to work after a career break and join local government.

With funding provided by the GEO, the programme aims to support people who took a career break for 12 months or more to care for someone. The programme will also consider applications from ICT professionals who have caring responsibilities and have become unemployed due to COVID-19, or those who have been in long-term unemployment with no caring commitments.

Candidates selected for the programme will receive high quality training, led by the Society for Innovation, Technology and Modernisation (Socitm). The training will support you to develop your:

  • technical skills
  • understanding of the role of digital services in local government
  • self-awareness and behavioural preferences for learning
  • professional brand
  • interview techniques.

Logo for the Society for Innovation, Technology and Modernisation (Socitm)

You will also be given the chance to connect with councils that have employment opportunities.

There has never been a better time to return to work. More employers are realising that individuals who have taken career breaks bring with them a variety of valuable skills and experiences that can enhance an organisation’s performance and approach to service delivery.

If you want to step back into your career after a break and work on projects that are at the centre of significant local and global issues, including digital connectivity and COVID-19 recovery, then the Return to Work – ICT programme is for you.

Why work for local government?

A career in local government provides you with an opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives and to the places and environments in which they live.

Increasingly, those working in local government do these things by working with residents, other public sector bodies like the health service and police force, and the private sector to ensure that local people get the most effective and efficient services possible.

Alison, the Assistant Director of ICT, Digital and Customer for Liverpool City Council, really likes that her council “can make things that can be complex, so much simpler for residents.

We offer a wide range of services at emotional times in people’s lives, including at births, deaths and marriages. We make sure that our systems are simple, so people aren’t forced into further hardships if they find our services too complex to navigate.”

Councils are also at the forefront of innovation, using emerging technologies to rollout new services for residents.

Coventry City Council has recently developed an Artificial Intelligence Chat Bot as part of their ICT service desk. Paul, their Head of ICT and Digital, says that he is “really proud of the work the team have done. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are areas that we are definitely exploring further.”

Achieving for Children (AfC), who work with councils to run children’s services, are also using artificial intelligence. They were one of the first organisations in the public sector to audio record Child Protection Conferences, in addition to adopting a live Signs of Safety Approach. Jabed, AfC’s Head of Business Support and Digital Transformation, notes:

“This was a huge step away from the legacy of written minutes. We can now reinvest the time saved to other parts of the business, such as front-line services.”

The projects that councils and their partners undertake make significant differences to people’s lives. Councils are forward thinking, focusing on solutions, and they welcome staff who bring innovative ideas and new ways of working.

As well as supporting communities, councils are also great employers. They offer their staff:

  • flexible working
  • fair pay, pensions and holiday allocation
  • a supportive working environment
  • project diversity
  • career progression
  • maternity, paternity and adoption leave
  • the opportunity to feed into the ambitions of the organisation
  • job satisfaction.

Getting back to work after a period away can be daunting, but the support offered by the Return to Work – ICT programme and councils can help you find your feet.

Becky, an IT Officer for a council, finds that councils “always try to ensure that you have a good work/life balance and are treated fairly in the workplace.”

ICT colleagues particularly benefit from flexible working policies. As Alison from Liverpool City Council notes, ICT staff “can often test things at unusual hours and work in the evening, as there are lots of tasks that lend themselves to different working patterns.”

Apply for our programme today and join the other two million people who have chosen to work in local government.

Programme elements

What does the programme involve?

The Return to Work – ICT programme will provide candidates with training, support and coaching to return to work after a career break and join local government.

The programme is divided into two core sections virtual training and connecting with employers.

1.Virtual training

The training for the Return to Work – ICT programme will be completed with Socitm. Socitm was established more than 30 years ago to focus on how digital strategies and innovation can be used to positively impact the lives of service users.

They bring people together to share experiences, best practice, and learning, as they believe the best outcomes for the public sector can only be achieved through collaboration and sharing excellence.

For the Return to Work – ICT programme, they will build upon their established management and leadership programmes to provide you with extensive and holistic training, enabling you to feel confident about getting back into professional life.

Their unique modules will be delivered online, giving you the flexibility to complete the training from your home. Their training will support you to develop your:

  • knowledge of local government and how the technology and digital services of the public sector can play a pivotal role in improving local communities
  • technical skills; provided via a learner suite with the following, optional learning areas:
  • IT support
  • software development
  • data analysis
  • IT administration
  • project management
  • information management
  • enterprise/technical/solution architecture
  • security specialist and security architecture.
  • self-awareness; using the PRISM profiling tool to identify your behavioural preferences and inform your one to one coaching sessions
  • professional brand
  • interview techniques, so you can build your confidence and feel ready to re-enter the workplace

Each learning pathway can take a maximum of four weeks and is a blend of facilitated and self-paced learning so you can complete your training around your commitments.

Taking part in this programme also gives you the opportunity to join Soctim’s network of digital leaders for free, which offers support and opportunities for talented professionals.

  1. Connecting with employers

While you are completing your online training with Socitm, the LGA will invite you to an online platform where you can describe your skills and experience.

Prospective employers in local government will then be invited to review your credentials and get in touch with you to discuss employment opportunities. We cannot guarantee employment, but we are pleased to offer you a way to connect with councils who are eager to work with returning ICT professionals.

What are the benefits of participating in the programme?

  1. Refresh your skills

If you have been out of the ICT profession for a while, you may not be aware of the latest developments in the sector. This programme can help you to refresh your skills and knowledge so you can hit the ground running on your first day back at work.

  1. Understand local government

If you are joining local government from the private sector, you will find this element of the training particularly beneficial.

ICT operates differently in local government, with the work requiring collaboration and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders. It also involves working within democratic processes, ensuring that decisions consider the social, economic and environmental impacts across an area.

Gaining insight into local government operations will support your transition from the private sector to the public sector.

If you have experience of working for a council in ICT, this will help you get up to speed with how processes might have changed.

  1. Understand the various ICT projects delivered by councils

The ICT profession in local government is diverse, allowing individuals to use their skills within a variety of projects to improve the customer experience. These projects include:

  • joining up support systems
  • providing the mechanisms for teams to provide remote/virtual consultations and care
  • supporting economic regeneration
  • supporting the green/environmental agenda.

In every project you undertake, you will be at the forefront of shaping the places where you live and supporting the COVID-19 recovery.

  1. Connect with local government employers

You will get the opportunity to share your skills and experience with councils that have vacancies in their ICT teams.

As our programme is nation-wide, signing up can help you gain exposure with councils across England. With the impact of COVID-19, some councils may be interested in discussing remote working opportunities.

  1. Build a network with other returners

Returning to work after a period away can be daunting. By providing you with online workshops, you will get the chance to interact and build networks with other professionals returning to work.

Programme timeline

Stage 1 – apply

Dates: 29 September 2020 – 11 November 2020

To apply for our programme, please visit our Return to Work – ICT website and select the ‘Apply Now’ button. You will then be taken to our job vacancies site, where you will be asked to register and complete an online application form.

Should you need any support with completing this form, please contact the LGA's Return to Work team.

Applications will close on 11 November 2020, though we reserve the right to close applications before this date. Early applications are advised.

Stage 2 – complete video assessment

Dates: 18 November 2020 – 30 November 2020

In this stage, you will be asked to complete an online video interview, where you will answer a series of pre-recorded questions. As our programme is delivered nationally, you can complete this stage virtually and from the comfort of your home.

You will be notified about the outcome of your application from 14 December 2020.

Stage 3 – training

Dates: From January 2021 

During this time, you will be invited to complete online training with Socitm. Details of how to access the online training will be shared with you once you have been accepted onto the programme.

Stage 4 – connecting with employers

Date: From January 2021

At this stage of the programme, you will be given the opportunity to connect with councils that have job vacancies. You will be asked to outline your skills and experience on our online platform, for local employers to review.

The online platform will remain open beyond the completion of your training, to support your conversations with councils.

We cannot guarantee employment, but we are pleased to offer a way for you to connect with councils who are eager to work with returning ICT professionals.

Eligibility requirements

The Return to Work – ICT programme is a unique opportunity for experienced ICT professionals to receive free training and the chance to connect with councils. 

To be eligible for our programme, you must have taken an extended career break of 12 months or more to care for someone. The programme will also consider applications from ICT professionals who have caring responsibilities and have become unemployed due to COVID-19, or those who have been in long-term unemployment with no caring commitments.

The GEO has set these eligibility requirements to help those who have taken career breaks to restart their careers at the right level for their skills and experience. With further challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, this programme will give ‘returners’ tailored support to re-enter the workplace.

In addition to the essential criteria outlined above, all candidates must have a minimum of two years’ experience in an ICT role. We also ask candidates to possess the following (desired) attributes and skills:

Attributes:

  • excellent time management skills
  • excellent problem-solving skills
  • ability to work on your own initiative
  • ability to work in teams
  • a willingness and commitment to personal development.

Skills in one of the following roles:

  • IT technical support
  • software developer
  • data analyst 
  • IT administrator 
  • project manager
  • enterprise architect
  • technical architect
  • solution architect 
  • security specialist
  • security architect 
  • information management specialist.

Further information

Resources

We hope the information in this pack has shown you that working in local government and re-entering the workplace through our programme is worthwhile and could further your career.

We understand that it can sometimes be daunting to return to work after a significant break. This is why the GEO has published an easy-to-read toolkit with:

  • advice on care and flexible working
  • free resources to your refresh skills
  • information about returners networks to join.

Contact details

Thank you for your interest in our programme and we look forward to welcoming your application. For the latest information, please visit the Return to Work – ICT website.

If you have any queries or would like additional support during the application process, please contact our Return to Work team.