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Nine in 10 people working in digital economy are white – but scheme aims to address lack of diversity

Almost 90% of employees in the technology sector are white but a new collaboration between agencies looks to address the lack of digital diversity in the UK

A digital skills programme is looking to train the next generation of tech pioneers and address the lack of diversity in the industry.

Data collected by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport found that 88.8% of employees in the digital sector are white, while women make up less than 40% of roles in the sector.

Digital strategist This Place, innovation consultancy Skills Lab and London based not-for-profit A New Direction are hoping to turn these figures around by inspiring young tech talent from under-represented groups.

The digital design diversity programme, called Flipside, is targeted at unemployed or underemployed young people aged between 18 and 25 from the London boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Waltham Forest.

It offers insight and training from digital design agencies Beyond, Made by Many, Sennep and ustwo, with five more companies set to be involved for the next intake of students.

 

A new generation of digital talent in London to address diversity in the sector

digital diversity
The group of students that completed the Flipside programme in 2018 (Credit: Flipside)

Now in its second year, 12 trainees from the initial intake have entered full-time employment following their completion of the programme.

Dawn Mckerracher, UK managing director at This Place, said: “The digital landscape is constantly evolving and whilst we see fast-paced innovation and change across the industry, we believe there is much greater and faster progress we can make when it comes to diversity.

“There is a huge pool of talented and ambitious young East Londoners whose fresh perspectives and ideas would greatly enrich the industry.

“With our HQ in Shoreditch, we feel especially strongly about nurturing and championing local talent.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Flipside and share the knowledge, skills and experiences that will provide these young people with a pathway into digital careers and, hopefully, kickstart a wider diversity movement.”

At the start of this week, 12 new trainees from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the digital industry have begun the three-month training course.

Funding for the programme has come from the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) – a development fund for East London, which was introduced following the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Paul Brickell, executive director of regeneration and community partnerships at LLDC, said: “There are thousands of jobs in creative and digital technologies coming to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area in the next few years and we want to make sure that local young people have the skills and experience to take advantage of these fantastic opportunities.

“We are delighted to carry on working with these cutting-edge creative digital agencies to offer young east Londoners the opportunity to develop these skills.”