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On November 22nd, Here East collaborated with Hackney council to launch Diversity in Tech: Breaking the Barriers report at Plexal.

Tech skills are in demand across all sectors creating many new job opportunities across London, and specifically Hackney - yet the tech sector still has a diversity problem.

This led to the London Borough of Hackney Council forming a special commission to understand residents' barriers to digital tech jobs, culminating in a report to highlight the issues, and provide solutions.

The event was opened by Mike Magan, COO of Here East, followed by the remarks from Mayor Philip Glanville where he described the report as an  “essential piece of work the council is doing with and for our residents to ensure that there are opportunities for diverse communities to acquire the in demand skills, get qualifications, and accessories in good quality jobs, no matter their background.”

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Apprentices from Hackney Council Atiyyah Rawat, Kashan Heath and Anna Canby Monk walked guests through the report's findings. They discussed with the audience the key barriers to securing jobs in tech. These included a lack of guidance to find jobs in tech, and the associated costs of undertaking the courses or degrees required to get a job.

They explained that to fix these issues, individuals within Hackney need to be provided with opportunities to make sure they are well informed about the demand for digital tech skills and know what jobs are available and the qualifications needed. 

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In addition, more needs to be done to ensure people have the skills they need for a career in the sector with access to affordable and flexible courses. They also revealed how more needs to be done to support alternative access routes to digital tech careers by creating pathways that address the barriers for diverse talent to pursue careers in digital tech.

The event concluded with a panel discussion hosted by Councillor Williams, featuring: Russ Shaw CBE, founder Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates; Dami Hastrup, founder and CEO at Moonhub; Bindi Karia, Venture Partner, Molten Ventures and Board of Governors, University of East London and Andy Kemp, Director of Partnerships for Generation UK & Ireland.  

Diverse in their expertise - but unanimous in their response, panel members found the report ‘unsurprising’. Believing employers were bypassing accountability, their discussion focused on bettering communication and connection between organisations and the wider community, acknowledging that the talent and skill base already exists; it just needs tapping into.  Panel members spoke optimistically - noting that whilst good progress has been made, there is so much more to be done to create equal access to jobs in the tech sector.

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At Here East we are committed to celebrating and nurturing diverse, local talent and as part of that commitment, we support three people each year through our Scholarship Programme. This ensures that local people are able to reap the many benefits offered by the world leading education institutions, businesses and individuals that call Here East home. We also run industry insight days allowing members of our local community to kickstart their careers in sectors like gaming by taking part  in practical workshops, and networking with industry players.

You can find out more about the report here.

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