An initiative aimed at increasing diversity in Scotland’s booming tech industry by offering opportunities to all, regardless of background, has been launched - with the backing of some of the most respected names in the sector.
Talent4Point0 is described by its founders as a “one stop place for inclusion and diversity in data and technology”, with a mission to help propel individual careers and increase the flow of talent to the sector’s growing workforce north of the Border.
The initiative will offer mentoring, networking events, and the chance of securing work placements as part of a “classroom to the boardroom” approach.
Among its co-founders are Michael Young, CEO of MBN Solutions, Craig Steele, director of Digital Skills Education, and Elizabeth Hollinger, head of analytics at Aggreko.
“The initiative originated a few months ago as a conversation between friends,” Hollinger told The Scotsman.
“A conversation where, among other things, we discussed what practical steps we could take to encourage diversity and inclusion in the data and technology sectors
“We’ve all seen, first-hand, the results of a game that’s, consciously or subconsciously, biased in favour of some members of the community – and against others.
“We passionately believe that we should all do our best to create as level a playing field as possible for talent to find its level. And we all wanted to make a difference.”
She continued: “We believe there are several reasons why this is quite a unique proposition.
“Firstly, our intention is to help highlight, amplify, strengthen and support the huge range of diversity and innovation groups that are already doing amazing work in our community.
“We want to act across a range of areas – the areas that we are passionate about as individuals – rather than to support any specific project.
“Secondly, we are keen that the members of this group are identified as individuals with a collective will to make a difference – rather than being “under the umbrella” of our individual organisations or companies.
“Finally, we are keen to begin taking steps to address some of the main challenges we face within the community on as practical level as possible.”
Talent4Point0 was formally launched at a well-attended event at MBN Solution’s offices in Glasgow on October 2. Among the speakers was Ivan McKee, Scottish Government minister for trade, investment and innovation.
“Scotland is an innovation nation,” he said. “The data industry is growing at twice the rate of the rest of the economy and it’s absolutely central to the country’s economic prosperity going forward.
“So it’s really important that sector is open and accessible to as wide a range of the population as possible.
“It’s also hugely important because, as we all know, the digital and tech sector faces challenges regarding skills, and we’re working very hard to encourage more to get trained so they can pursue opportunities within it.
“The business benefits of a diverse workforce are obvious. “We’ve talked about gender stereotypes, which can happen quite early in education. That’s something we recognise and are taking action to tackle that.”
For further information, visit the Talent4Point0 website