Importance of Natural Resources

Inclusion and Diversity in Technology – Workshop one: Education


In terms of improvements in education, I
think it’s really challenging because if we look at the statistics we see only 5%
of primary school teachers have a science-related degree. So it’s very hard
for teachers in the education sector to vision what the future looks like if
they themselves don’t have deep technology experience.
So within Co-op in the Federation we’re specifically trying to encourage a more
diverse economic model in the digital economy. So rather than looking at
businesses that are going to exit as unicorns where four people benefit, we’re
trying to support and we have funding through the Co-op Foundation and The
Omidyar Network to support any tech companies who are trying to set up as
co-operatives, Community Interest companies or social enterprise so what
we want to see is a much more diverse and more inclusive digital economy.
Inclusion in tech is an embedded problem the skills audit has shown that both
gender diversity, ethnicity and age are a challenge for us still. While we’ve made
some inroads into gender there’s been a slight movement year-on-year, ethnicity
and age still stay quite static. It’s now affecting the bottom line for businesses
and the reality is if businesses don’t address their vacancy rates which they
reported this year was 30 percent then there’s going to be a challenge from
continuing to turn work away. Nearly 30 percent of businesses told us this year
in their skills audit that they turned work away because they haven’t got the
right talents so we need to diversify and widen that talent pool that we’re
employing from. There’s lots of opportunities to increase diversity and
inclusion working within the education sector. For example, Manchester Digital
has a program called Digital Futures and it’s working with industry and education
to do just that to include diversity in everyday thinking. We can support
computer science teachers in education and careers advisors to talk about our
industry in a more inclusive way and utilize our role models to share and
increase that aspiration and inspiration to young people in education. But also to
encourage more teachers from diverse backgrounds to actually come into
teaching. We think that this is really going to help attract different students.
If you don’t have a diverse teacher pool you’ll never going to attract a more
diverse student pool. That then becomes a problem further down the line for
industry when they’re trying to recruit I think when we look especially in the
education setting at the students and teachers who are taking technology
subjects, they are not representative of the communities that they are teaching
within. We don’t see a great deal of diversity in those groups from
socio-economic groups, from gender, from ethnicity so the challenge is definitely
one we need to do something about. What puts students off STEM or STEAM which is
bringing the creativity into that. Let’s just not forget what STEM is because a
lot of people don’t know what it is. So it’s Science, Technology
Engineering and Maths. We focus a lot on the engineering and the science and a
lot of the time the maths and the technology can fall by the wayside. And
also throwing the A in there which is the Art throws away the creativity side
of it. All of those things are about business skills and about your future
and about your career. Making it very scientific, making it all about
white coats, laboratories, making technology about coding can sometimes
put some students off. When really they’re very creative problem-solvers,
they can come up with answers, they have great people skills, they could research
products and design things that people really need but they’re maybe being
excluded from that picture. Immediate changes that we could make in education
are mostly, I think, around time and capacity for our teachers. We are running
our teachers on empty, we have teachers leaving the profession
and unfortunately for the technology world we have schools and colleges that are
reducing their capacity to deliver technical education, technology and IT
because they haven’t got the resources and the people to deliver that. So that’s
communities that are left without technology education. It’s important for
a number of reasons to support people from low-income backgrounds. Firstly, it’s
equitable, it’s the right thing to do. There’s a lot of talent out there. it’s great for businesses to be able to
harness that talent. It’s great for industries to certainly not be missing
out on the talent that’s available to them. So events like this which are
exploring diversity and technology and what the education sector
can be doing so to help encourage diversity and technology are really
important. They’ll help us to inform the work that we’re doing in develop our
program to help us work with with the employers and with the young people and
with the schools that we that we partner with to support young people in pursuing
careers within technology. So personally I’ve not experienced a lack of diversity at
the current place that I’m working at or any place that I’ve been employed at.
Probably because I’m quite new to the tech industry but I’ve heard stories
from people that I know where there were instances where they felt that because there are an ethnic
minority they’re felt that there’s a glass ceiling where
they can’t get to the senior positions So not having gone to university,
an apprenticeship has been a good alternative route for me because it’s
it’s not the traditional route but it’s becoming more of the norm now and it’s
bringing a lot of diverse skills in because not everyone is academic and a
lot of people actually show their passion through their work. So what
started being on the road to my apprenticeship was I wanted to be a
paramedic when I was in school but I was absolutely rubbish at science so I knew
that wasn’t suited for me. But then I explored and researched into
university courses and then I came across digital marketing and I actually
found that you know my skill set actually suits
the roles that are in digital marketing. I felt like there’s loads of
opportunities for me to develop you


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