CGI member, Sue Lees, spent 30 years in the Civil Service and for a long time, wasn’t sure if a job in the private sector could be as meaningful or fulfilling for here. Has a job at CGI proved her wrong? Hear her story below of going from Civil Servant, to a CGI member who’s been able to continue impacting citizens and the government through the fantastic work we are involved in.

March 2022

I first became aware of CGI when they were a supplier on a programme I was delivering as Programme Director in the HM Courts & Tribunals Service. At the time, I was keen for a fresh challenge, and had started to feel that my skills and knowledge of the public sector could be well utilised in a role where I supplied services to the Government, rather than working within it. 

A high percentage of the resources in my programme were contractors from a large range of suppliers. I noticed that they all really wanted to make a difference and felt that they were doing that by being involved in our government modernisation programme. They also seemed to have so many resources at their disposal, such as the latest training and equipment.

I was approached by three of the suppliers to join them in a Programme Director/Delivery role, but it wasn’t hard for me to choose CGI. Not only had they impressed me the most – the services they offered, how quickly they were onboarded and the 'value add' they were prepared to offer – but they also offered me a role near my home, instead of having to travel to and from London. CGI operates a Metro Model where members work where they live, and it suited me well.

Most importantly, however, was that CGI’s values aligned with my values as a Civil Servant. After a 30 year career in the Civil Service, I wanted to stay in a role that still made a difference and CGI ticked all the boxes.

Continuing to have an impact on UK citizens

I'm placed within the Central Government Business Unit within CGI, so I'm still working on key government deliverables to enhance services provided to UK citizens. The difference is that rather than trying to work within a budget that has been set for me, I am now part of the team that assesses the work required and gives the client a value for it.

During my many years in the Civil Service, I gained a lot of experience in technical delivery and programme directing. I helped to deliver some of the best customer-facing digital services the UK government has. I built up a vast knowledge of both Agile and Waterfall delivery, skills that have been completely transferable to my role here at CGI.

But I think one of the biggest things I brought with me from my previous career is that real-life experience of working in government. I know how the processes work (including budget allocation) so I provide a ‘translation’ service for my colleagues that helps them understand the constraints that government departments work with.

I’m also able to guide my fellow CGI members on how best to approach discussions with government departments, and on acronyms and key dates, in order to better serve government clients.

The good life at CGI

Where do I start? For a start, I’ve had my first pay rise implemented on time in 30 years! The process for this at CGI  is quick, smooth and reflected as per the annual pay cycle, which I really appreciate.

Then we have things like private health insurance, with a low-cost premium extended to our family members too, and various rewards schemes within the business which let me thank team members throughout the year by rewarding them – that makes a big difference to me.

There are many other perks to the culture which you discover as you go, but one of the biggest in my eyes is that you’re instantly able to become a shareholder at CGI when you become part of the business. This gives me a real affiliation with the company as I’m a part owner after all!

Change-makers at heart

CGI members remind me of civil servants in that they are making changes happen across the government, are proud of what they are achieving and go the extra mile to make sure it happens.

The company also gives back to the community a lot. We sponsor community projects (tree planting, canal cleaning etc.), and get time off for volunteering, community policing, COVID vaccinations and so on. We recently put on something called the CGI CyberEscape, which was an immersive experience to teach young people about cybersecurity, and it was so much fun for everyone, from the schools, to our CGI volunteers, to the customers we invited along.

When I look back on my decision to move into the private sector, I don’t have a single regret. The time was right for me and CGI was most definitely right for me. Are you in a similar place in your own career? Head to CGI’s career page for open job listings and see if there is an opportunity here that could work for you too.