Encouraging young people into cyber and tech

by Lydia Kennedy

With a highly documented talent shortage in the technology industry, how can companies go beyond a focus on gender equality to support inclusion across all areas?

As we discussed after the recent TechUK and Women in Defence event, we are continually exploring new ways to promote diversity across our internal and external practices. With a dearth of women and young people entering into the tech space, we are constantly looking for ways to tackle this risk.

Transparent leadership

We’ve recognised that to make change happen in the sector, those working in tech need to inspire confidence and provide role models for people early on in their careers to allow them to grow.

This includes visible leadership – being transparent with employees as to the opportunities and barriers to progression, as well as a strong presence that encourages people to challenge perceptions, have a voice and innovate in their roles so they can find their niche.

Partnering with young people

We take our mission to inspire seriously. That’s why we have supported the NCSC Cyber Schools initiative and engaged with a number of schools, such as Newent School, to create their NCSC cyber school hub, designed to encourage young people and support them in the development of technical skills within cyber security. Each school that takes part will increase their teaching of cyber security and promote gender diversity in computer science.

Our aim is to break down the barriers young people face to entering the tech industry. Whether that’s a lack of skills, awareness and education, or simply confidence, we know that a grassroots approach is the best way to tackle the issues affecting the next generation of cyber technologists.

We’ve already taken part in a Dragon’s Den session at Wyedean School near Chepstow. Students from Year 9 and 12 pitched to a panel from the cyber industry with their ideas on how to inspire kids to take up computer science as a subject, and start on a career path in cyber and technology. Their passion and confidence were hugely galvanising – and filled us with questions as to how to replicate their enthusiasm, especially with young girls, for the subject.

The future of cyber security

The cyber threat continues, so it’s never been more important to encourage new and diverse thinking to build the future of our industry. We’re always striving to achieve a better gender balance at Deep3, as well as encourage inclusion at every level. The more we champion inclusivity and provide role models in the industry, the more prospective students and employees will see their own backgrounds reflected, encouraging them to take up the career as a viable option.

By 2030, we expect to have levelled the playing field for all tech employees, with many more young people seeing cyber technology as an exciting and relevant field, one at the heart of the UK workforce. In an industry of constant change, the approach has to evolve as well. We hope that in the next ten years – and beyond – the sector will be setting a strong example to those who want to play a role in solving the challenges of tomorrow.

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