If you do a Google Images search for ‘techie’, ‘working in tech(nology)’ or similar combinations of, you’ll be hard pressed to find an image of anyone ‘black’ much less UK and Black. It’s no wonder why in 2017 there is still a lack of diversity in tech, in the UK.
Or is there?
Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford (Advisory Chair of Ultra Education, Board Member at Co-op; Chair ActionAid UK) published an article on Linkedin titled 2017: Let’s learn something from the arrival of the Donald (click here for the full article) in which she said:
In 2017 I would like to see the D word (Diversity) if not replaced by, then energised and turbo-charged by the P word. Participation.
Essentially, diversity is no good without inclusion, which is no good without participation. Unlike diversity or inclusion, the P word levels the playing field and focuses on the equal contribution from all parties regardless of race towards a defined goal.
We could argue that all businesses are ‘in tech’ and are at the very least ‘powered by’ tech. The funny thing is, working with children and young people in business we see them ‘participating’ in technology by default. They already consume tech heavily but now it’s the job of the tech industry to take them ‘under the hood’ of their apps, games and devices to connect their understanding of tech to employment or business.
You won’t have to look too far to see children and young people in the UK broadcasting themselves across YouTube or Snapchat. Those who can make the connection use those platforms to sell a product or increase their ‘celeb’ and social equity. Now, to a corporate that’s a valuable skill they currently buy in but really it should be developed and retained.
The ultra cool ‘Chicken Connoisseur’ used a tech platform with some snazzy editing to capture the attention of millions of young people across the nation. Isn’t that the kind of skill that businesses, entrepreneurs and big corporates should be developing and looking for more of?
Maybe that’s obvious, or maybe the problem is little focus on a pathway in tech for the next generation of young, black techies who believe they can be themselves and still be valued in the world of business.
Julian ‘The Ultrapreneur’ Hall of Ultra Education