The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has welcomed the inaugural participants in the GovTech Talent Graduate Programme, a cross-agency project to build the information, technology and digital talent pipeline in government."This is an excellent opportunity for today\u2019s best and brightest graduates to help shape a new way of working for and with government,\u201d says Tim Occleshaw, Government Chief Technology Officer, at an event for the graduates at the National Library in Wellington. The graduates come from a wide range of disciplines including engineering, information management, law, linguistics, arts, computer studies and genetics.\u201cWe have an impressive lineup of talented graduates. It\u2019s fantastic that they\u2019re starting their careers on this track, and I\u2019m excited by what the future holds for everyone involved in the programme,\u201d says Occleshaw, in a statement.No captionThis is an excellent opportunity for today\u2019s best and brightest graduates to help shape a new way of working for and with governmentTim Occleshaw\u201cFrom the start, we\u2019ve sought graduates with a combination of technical and behavioural skills like leadership potential, problem-solving and curiosity. Our attraction campaign and selection processes reflected this,\u201d says Sonitha Aniruth, manager ICT and digital leadership capability programme at the DIA.\u201cOut of 460 applications received, we\u2019ve chosen a group of 15 diverse and smart people. They really impressed us with their ability to make connections, their passion for New Zealand and their commitment to being part of digital innovation in government,\u201d says Aniruth.\u201cWe\u2019re very optimistic for the graduates and the future of the digital talent pipeline. It\u2019s a great start for a career in a future-focused public sector, and the agencies involved are happy to play our part to make this happen.\u201dOver the next two years, the graduates will spend eight months each in three participating government agencies and will be offered unique opportunities to develop their skills and harness their potential as tomorrow\u2019s information, technology and digital leaders. DIA is leading the GovTech Talent Graduate Programme, which is a key component of the Government ICT Strategy\u2019s leadership focus area and part of the Government Chief Information Officer\u2019s efforts to accelerate digital transformation across the public sector. DIA co-designed the programme with six other government agencies \u2013 Inland Revenue, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Primary Industries, NZ Transport Agency and Statistics New Zealand. Occleshaw thanks the partner agencies that co-designed and supported the programme. \u201cIt\u2019s great to work closely with them to play our part not just in responding but in leading change in a rapidly evolving environment.\u201d Craig Soutar, CIO of the New Zealand Transport Agency, cites the importance of the graduate programme in the light of his department\u2019s programme to modernise its IT infrastructure that includes adopting the cloud and taking advantage of opportunities around the Internet of Things.Craig Soutar, New Zealand Transport Agency\u201cOne of our ongoing challenges is hiring smart and innovative people to work on this programme,\u201d he tells CIO New Zealand.\u201cWe know that we share this challenge with the rest of the public sector, and that demands for these types of skills will only increase with Government expectations of ICT as an enabler of radical transformation of public services, and the challenges and opportunities arising from digital disruption. \u201cWe see the GovTech Talent Programme as critical to growing the type of information and technology workforce which we will need to be successful. We also know that while this will be good for us, it will be good for the public sector too as this is a long-term investment in our public sector capability which will reap rewards for many years to come.\u201dSonitha Aniruth, manager ICT and digital leadership capability programme, Department of Internal Affairs: \u201cFrom the start, we\u2019ve sought graduates with a combination of technical and behavioural skills like leadership potential, problem-solving and curiosity. Our attraction campaign and selection processes reflected this.\u201dSend news tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinapFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nzSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.Join us on Facebook.