The UK government is stumping up £1 million for a "Digital Skills Innovation Fund" designed to help under-represented groups gain the digital skills they need to be successful in today's society, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has announced.
The fund, which opens in September, will go towards helping women (still vastly under-represented in the tech sector), minority groups, disabled people and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to develop and learn skills for jobs such as software developers, data analysts, marketers or cybersecurity specialists.
Additionally, an extra £400,000 will go towards helping older people or the disabled get access to these digital skills, which could transform their lives.
Research shows that increased diversity in the tech sector boosts innovation. (Image: Mini Thian)
Diversity is a growing issue in the technology sector. Government research says that out of all tech employees, only 17% are women. Additional research from PwC found that only 27% of female students would consider a career in tech, compared to 61% of males, and over a quarter (26%) of women are put off a career in the industry because it is too male-dominated. (See Is Diversity Key to Innovation? 9 Professionals Weigh In.)
Minister for Digital Margot James said: "It is crucial everyone is able to take advantage of digital technology, whether it is to learn how to use the Internet or develop the skills to work in a tech role. If we want to maintain our position as a world-leading digital economy we need to work with industry, local authorities and the voluntary sector to develop solutions so no-one is left behind."