A flexible work culture can make all the difference for working families, says Venus Bailey, an Associate Technical Architect in the Government Digital Service (GDS).
The main responsibilities of a Technical Architect are designing and building technical architecture, communicating with both technical and non-technical stakeholders and making sure that the development is aligned with the organisation’s strategy, technical standards and policies. The project she is currently working on is an email, text message and letter notification system called GOV.UK Notify. One way it is used is by the DVSA to send out driving licence notifications and MOT reminders.
Venus, who has been in her job for 10 months, works full time, but flexibly which makes it easier for her family to manage childcare – Venus has two children aged 13 and 10. “It’s more about getting the job done than the hours you do,” she says. She works four days in the office and one day from home so she can take her youngest child to school and pick her up on the day she works from home. She also works compressed hours, doing longer days from Monday to Wednesday so she can finish earlier on Fridays.
If she needs to, she can work more days from home and there is flexibility in taking annual leave. She also gets about £100 a week to help with after school clubs through a childcare voucher scheme. Civil servants can also use a number of subsidised holiday playschemes.
Venus is originally from Hong Kong, but did her Masters degree and PhD in the UK. She had her children while she was doing her PhD. At the same time she was also working part-time for a start-up company. Prior to joining the GDS, she worked part time for six and a half years as a researcher at University College London after completing her PhD.
“I like working at GDS, it has a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion,” she says. She feels it is an important factor to consider for career progression. “Work is important for self-fulfilment and self-confidence, and having an understanding employer can really help working parents” she says.
*You can read more about Technical Architects in GDS and government here. If you’d like to know more about flexible part-time working, you can chat to Government Digital Service and other departments at Silicon Milkroundabout 19 and 20 May, London.