Building a digital profession

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October 5, 2021

The pandemic has created huge demand for digital skills within governments, as departments work to launch new digital services, meet spiralling demand for information and support online, and use data to assess the pandemic’s impact. And over the last year, those countries with a government-wide digital, data and technology profession have often found it easier to meet demand with supply – redeploying specialist staff, supporting departments to acquire and build digital skills, and tapping into a government-wide network of senior digital leaders.

Operating a digital profession is just as valuable in less difficult times: introducing cross-government staff and career development systems can bolster recruitment, retention, training and knowledge transfer, while reducing staff turnover. With civil services under ever greater pressure to develop their digital capabilities, the creation of a government-wide profession can play a key role in building and managing your specialist workforce.

At this webinar, civil service leaders and external experts will discuss the potential value of establishing a digital profession, and consider the policies, systems, roles and resources required to improve the strategic management of digital teams across government.


USA/Canada Eastern Time (EST): 09:30 – 10:45
British Summer Time (BST): 14:30 – 15:45
Central European Summer Time (CEST): 15:30 – 16:45
Eastern European Summer Time (EEST): 16:30 – 17:45
Singapore Time (SGT): 21:30 – 22:45
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): 23:30 – 00:45

Public servants can register here for free to attend this webinar


Webinar chair: Siobhan Benita, former UK senior civil servant

Siobhan Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many of the major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of Government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell to lead work on Civil Service reform and strategy. Siobhan left the Civil Service to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University as Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab.

Dr Vik Pant, Chief Scientist and Chief Science Advisor, Natural Resources Canada

Vik is responsible for providing strategic direction to build capacity within NRCan’s scientific community, promoting a departmental vision for S&T and assessment of future needs. This involves leadership in developing and advancing S&T priorities, providing strategic policy advice on horizontal science issues and opportunities to ensure strong linkages between science and policy communities, and promoting effective engagement of S&T activities. Vik is responsible for accelerating the creative application of innovative digital technologies including Artificial Intelligence, to enhance NRCan’s ability to conduct research and analysis, as well as provide evidence-based policy advice that is supported by advanced analytical techniques. Vik works with counterparts from other science-based organizations to ensure that the management of federal policy and research activities support and align with Government of Canada priorities.

Vik earned a doctorate from the Faculty of Information (iSchool) in the University of Toronto, a master’s degree in business administration with distinction from the University of London, and a master’s degree in information technology from Harvard University, where he received the Dean’s List Academic Achievement Award. His research, featured in numerous peer-reviewed journals and refereed international conferences, focuses on the conceptual modelling of strategic coopetition in complex multi-agent systems.

Vik joined NRCan from the MaRS Discovery District, a technology start-up accelerator in Toronto, where he was a Senior Technical Advisor of Applied Artificial Intelligence. Prior to that, he held progressively strategic positions in leading software enterprises including Oracle, SAP and Open Text.

Teresa D’Andrea, Director General, Data and Advanced Analytics, Digital Services and Transformation Office, Transport Canada

Biography to follow

Colin Cook, Director of Digital, Scottish Government Digital Directorate, United Kingdom

Biography to follow

Danielle Brigida, Digital, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, USA

Biography to follow