Managing Director, TechSkills, a techUK company
Opportunities in digital technology should be accessible to all, especially at a time when millions have been left unemployed and large parts of the economy has been ravaged by the impacts of the pandemic.
The pandemic’s impact on employment has been unevenly felt, with women, ethnic minorities, part-time workers and those on low incomes hit hardest.1 These individuals must be encouraged and supported into roles that offer future opportunities and into a sector that needs their perspectives.
Making adult education more accessible and appealing
We believe that by signposting and helping fund bite-sized industry-led training designed to fit around the learner and their life, we can address some of the biggest barriers to training and skilling. Remote learning increases accessibility and with increasing availability of online and virtual digital skills training, organisations are able to build a more inclusive workforce with up-to-date digital skills.
For FDM Group, the pandemic required a transition to virtual learning that provided the opportunity to widen participation and have greater outreach. As a result, FDM’s online training is more diverse with around 90 training classes involving 500 trainees taking place every day.2
By signposting and helping fund bite-sized industry-led training designed to fit around the learner and their life, we can address some of the biggest barriers to training and skilling.
Challenging stereotypes and surfacing diverse stories
Industry also recognises the role it must play in producing inclusive spaces and supporting those from underrepresented groups to thrive in their businesses and in digital tech roles, which have previously been so heavily stereotyped as being the preserve of the few.
Success stories and case studies are of critical importance when inspiring and motivating individuals to commit to learning new skills and breaking down stereotypes. There are signs of positive movement. For example, last year saw more than a 20% increase in the number of girls taking A-level Computing.3 This new generation of talent will take a while to come through, against the backdrop of today’s job crisis, so now is the time to recommit to reaching those who may be considering switching careers or looking to return to work with an updated skill set.
As an employer led organisation, TechSkills offers the Tech Industry Gold accreditation to programmes that deliver job-readiness for digital and tech careers, meeting industry standards for quality and relevance to employment.
 15% of workers in sector which have shut down because of the coronavirus are from a minority ethnic background, compared to 12% of all workers, 57% are women, compared to a workforce average of 48%, and nearly 50% are under 35 years old. Low paid workers are more likely to work in shut down sectors and less likely to be able to work from home.