Diversity project opens doors to BBC Digital teams
Diversity Events Manager
Diversity is a key objective for the BBC with the ambition to reflect through its workforce, strategies, policies and programming, the diversity of its audiences. The BBC Diversity team organise regular events to promote this aim, as Events Manager Nicola Crowther explains. June Angelides, founder of Mums In Technology, also shares her thoughts on a recent session held by BBC Digital in London.
We need a diverse workforce at the BBC for two key reasons. Firstly, if our teams include people from a wide range of backgrounds then we will be more reflective of our audiences and better able to serve them. Secondly, it just makes good business sense – employing people with different ideas, viewpoints, life experiences and skills leads to more creativity, problem-solving and productivity.
Within BBC Digital we are particularly keen to increase the numbers of technical women that we employ, from 25% currently to 30% by 2017. Our work includes projects to support the retention of existing female staff plus initiatives to attract more talented tech women to apply for roles at the BBC.
It is common knowledge that there is an industry-wide shortage of technically skilled women and so we are thinking creatively about the ways in which we can find new talent, including working with women who are looking to make a career change into tech. Mums in Technology is a child-friendly coding school which includes a number of women who are looking to move into roles within technology. They requested a visit to BBC Digital to find out more about the online products and services we design, develop and run plus the types of job opportunities available and we were happy to accommodate the visit. You can read more about their experience below.
June Angelides writes: It was clear from the start that this would be a rather unusual visitor list for the BBC, when a number of prams appeared at reception at Broadcasting House. We had the minimum-age lowered quite considerably for this visit.
As you may be aware, the BBC have launched a nationwide initiative - ‘Make it Digital’ - to inspire a new generation of coders and programmers to gain access to careers in digital technology. In line with coding becoming part of the school curriculum, they are producing 1 million devices called the BBC micro:bit for year 7 pupils, in partnership with multiple stakeholders from within the industry.
There is currently a large skills shortage in the technology sector, with an estimated 1.4m digital professionals needed to fill the gap over the next five years. Alongside this, there's also a huge drive to get more women into tech, where organisations like Codefirst:Girls, Mums in Technology and Codebar are doing their bit to make technology accessible to all.
We believe that it is important to remove barriers to entry and that individuals should be given the power to take control of their digital learning. Spending the day at the BBC highlighted the different entry routes into BBC Digital. We got a good understanding of the different teams and the different types of people that work there and how much they value diversity.
There was so much passion and pride that comes from working for such a well-known organisation. It also comes with a lot of responsibility. It was obvious that everyone took that responsibility to share knowledge and experiences to heart.
It was really inspiring to hear the personal journeys of women currently working in tech at the BBC. We all walked away feeling like we would both love to work there and that it was achievable if we put the hard work in. It was clear to me that diversity is high on the agenda for BBC Digital.