Get ready for Hack2Work

About DWP Digital

DWP Digital is the team of software engineers, data analysts, delivery managers and product designers who build digital products and services to support the Department for Work and Pensions’ customers. We combine technology, data and innovation to tackle some of the country’s most complex and important problems.

Problem statement

The pandemic has had a major impact on the UK labour market resulting in millions of people being left unemployed. The challenge is to use technology and data to generate ideas and develop innovative solutions to help jobseekers identify and access employment.

Hack2Work is in support of the Plan For Jobs initiative.

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is a bite-sized version of aagile project sprint. It brings a diverse range of people, including developers, data experts, and user researchers, together to work intensively on a project. The final output of the project is usually a basic prototype, or a concept. 

Team-forming guidance

Ideally, you want the following roles covered on your team:

  • Business analyst. This role keeps the team focused on meeting their objectives and outcomes for the user. 
  • User researcher. This person leads on gathering evidence around the user needs, pains and gains.
  • Front-end developer. The developer turns the team’s vision into a prototype, styles the visual interface, and sets the behaviour of the interface. An interaction designer could also do the prototype.
  • Delivery manager. This role sets the priorities, ensures the team is working efficiently, and removes barriers to the team’s progress.

Judging criteria

Projects will be judged on: 

  • Focus on user needs 
  • Technical execution 
  • Usability and accessibility 
  • Innovation 
  • Collaboration in the team 
  • Best overall solution


If you opted in for a Hack2Work welcome pack, you should get one in the post just before the event. The winning team will receive a coffee machine for every team member. 

Running order

Before the event, there are a few things you need to do: 

  • Make sure you’re registered and set up on Microsoft Teams. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the problem statement (and the data sources, if you want to get a deeper understanding of the problem). 
  • Watch our case study about Shay, who found a job through the Kickstart scheme. 

You can download the full running order for the event here.

Download the list of breakout sessions for day one.

Download the list of breakout sessions for day two.

We’re holding some fun sessions during the event as well. These are optional.

Maddox Magic Show – Wednesday 7th July 6pm

From wowing judges on Britain’s Got Talent, to opening stadiums for Coldplay – Maddox Dixon will be bringing you a Digital Magic Experience like no other.

Have your team achieve the impossible together, as they read each other’s minds, interact with hi-tech effects on their mobile phones and take part in a show where they decide the ending. Maddox will charm and energise your audience into believing anything is possible, even a thousand miles apart.

Crystal Maze – Tuesday 6th July 6pm

The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience Dome from Home game is a new companion game to the live action experience, perfect for a fun (and most importantly remote) team-building activity and a great prelude to a future visit in person!

You and your team will be joined via video conference by one of the Crystal Maze’s own Maze Masters – your own gregarious guide – as you travel through a virtual tour of The Crystal Maze’s four zones.

Along the way, you will tackle 16 new puzzles and challenges created especially for this game, screaming ‘helpful advice’ at each other through tiny (albeit digital) windows as the time ticks away just like on the show.

Once all games are completed, your entire team will face the new Virtual Crystal Dome, specially made for this experience where you can grab as many (virtual) gold tokens as possible and hopefully make that all important ‘Dome from Home’ leader board!

How to use Microsoft Teams

We’ll be holding the hackathon through Microsoft Teams. Make sure you have a free Microsoft account you can use, and that you have Teams installed on your device.

Using MongoDB Atlas and Realm

MongoDB’s experts will run a hands-on workshop to get you up and running with a MongoDB Atlas database cluster and a Realm backend app. The session will start with a lightning overview of MongoDB’s cloud services – focussing on Atlas (Database-as-a-Service) and Ream (Platform-as-a-Service and mobile database).  

We hope that you can attend the workshop, but if you can’t (or you want to get a head start!) then you can get the instructions here:  

Part 1 – Creating your Atlas cluster.  

Part 2 – Creating your Realm app

MongoDB have some more guides to help you with Atlas and Realm:

Follow this tutorial to create your free MongoDB Atlas database and populate it with some sample data.

Building on the first tutorial, this one creates a cloud Realm app to safely expose your data. It then adds a super-simple web that queries and displays the data.

Go further by following these steps to add extra functionality to your Realm app.

Does NoSQL feel like a bunch of NoSense to you? If so, watch this on-demand webinar. In Back to Basics, we’ll introduce you to the foundational concepts of the world’s most popular NoSQL database, MongoDB, and explain how you can leverage the MongoDB Cloud to build modern, data-driven applications.

Using Red Hat

Red Hat’s technical workshop will show you how Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform can support you with your hack by providing the tools needed to quickly build, deploy, manage and push applications and services to other environments. 

This is a browser-based, hands-on experience. No software will need to be installed. All hands-on work will be via web browser (Firefox or Chrome preferred) accessing our own OpenShift 4 cluster in the public cloud. Being internet hosted, local network configurations like web proxies or VPN are not recommended.

Please check prior to the session that the Secured Websocket works for your computer/local network.

Open Cast Workshop – lessons learned

Open Cast’s 30-minute workshop will be around sharing the lessons from our recent work with DWP. They have a team working within DWP Health to help design a service to support and influence the decision-making of UK employers – especially SMEs with no HR support – to prevent avoidable health-related job loss. The workshop will discuss and highlight ideas and outputs from the project, and how it will support employers and employees in the post-pandemic world.

Avengers, Assemble your APIs: how Kong Konnect enables the superheroes of innovation

83% of web traffic is through APIs, and digitising business process to provide enriched, joined up citizen experiences depends on them. In our increasingly distributed IT landscapes, however, building, managing, and consuming APIs gets harder and harder to do properly. In this workshop we see why that is, and explore how DWP use Kong to make it easier for engineers to innovate and improve the lives of UK citizens.

The Imaginarium workshop – Karl Dickman

You’ve heard the myths right? Prototyping is hard and isn’t quick, ideas take a long time to come up with or it takes really creative people to come up with stuff. Well, here at the Imaginarium we’re going to show you that this isn’t true. You’ll be given everything you need to come up with an idea, bring it to life and present it back to the group in 30 minutes and truly understand the value of doing this for your products and services.

Design thinking with IBM

The IBM technical workshop will be focusing on Design Thinking. Design Thinking is an innovative problem-solving process that fosters creativity and innovation. It helps teams rapidly bring human problems into focus in a way that enables them to ideate, create and iterate solutions that effectively tackle the core human problems. The learnings in this workshop will help teams better analyse, understand and solve the core challenges being considered in this Hackathon.

Data sources

You can find labour market reports on the Office for National Statistics website. These reports show how the pandemic has impacted unemployment levels. There’s also some unemployment data on 

API catalogue

You can access DWP Digital’s API catalogue in order to pull in relevant data or features from existing DWP services.

Meet the Hack2Work team

Jacqui Leggetter

Jacqui is head of integration at DWP Digital, and will be hosting the hackathon. She’s recorded a short video to explain the problem statement. 

Early Talent Recruitment Team

Amy Crean and Michelle Naylor will be holding drop-in sessions for people interested in apprenticeships with DWP Digital.

Recruitment Team

Mimi Enefiok and Caicy Sandford will be holding drop-in sessions for people interested in working at DWP Digital.

Drop-in session times for both:

Day 1 (Tues 6th): 3.30pm – 4.00pm
Day 2 (Wed 7th): 2.30pm – 3.00pm