Students from Queen Mary University of London have taken part in a ground-breaking programme to advance inclusion and equality in tech.
The initiative, Colorintech, launched in 2016, encourages more people from black and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds to gain careers in the tech industry. According to Colorintech’s research, only 2.6 per cent of the UK’s tech board members are from diverse communities.
Queen Mary University of London’s collaboration with Colorintech began in 2019. The 2020 cohort were due to fly to the United States to visit tech companies in Silicon Valley and have group career coaching sessions with the Colorintech team, including ex-Google employee Ashleigh Ainsley. However the expedition was cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this setback, much of the planned activities have taken place online and included sessions with professionals from LinkedIn, Microsoft, Cloudreach, Deepmind (Google) and Northzone Venture Capital.
In total 32 students from Queen Mary University of London took part in Colorintech in 2020, all from diverse backgrounds. In addition to career coaching sessions with the Colorintech team, the students also have the opportunity to meet with BAME staff and role models within the tech companies. Participants also benefit from access to Colorintech’s network of tech contacts on the lookout for diverse talent within their respective organisations.
Dr Christopher Phillips, Deputy Dean for Education in Queen Mary’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences said: “We’re delighted that our students have still been able to take part in Colorintech’s exciting programme. They have impressively put aside any disappointment over not travelling to Silicon Valley and embraced the online sessions – opening the way to future opportunities in tech.”
Aniruddh Singh, who is entering his second year of a BSc in Business with Law at Queen Mary said: “It has been an extremely insightful programme that Queen Mary and Colorintech have brought to us, even in such uncertain times. This programme celebrates diversity and inclusion by giving an amazing avenue to BAME students. I could not have asked for a better insight into the tech industry.”
Bejal Chudasama, who graduated from Queen Mary earlier this year with a BSc in Marketing and Management said: “I’m really enjoying the Colorintech programme. From speaking and networking with top businesses like LinkedIn and Microsoft, to implementing advice given on CVs and cover letters, I would recommend the programme to everyone. It is an example of how those of colour can also work in the tech industry and in top positions.”
Queen Mary’s Colorintech programme was funded by Queen Mary's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), School of Business Management (SBM), and Careers & Alumni departments.
Founded in 2016, Colorintech was started with the belief that a more inclusive tech industry is better for products, innovation, employees and leads to a larger generational impact when it comes to wealth creation and closing opportunity gaps.
Feeling frustrated with being one of a few black individuals in tech, Silicon Valley tech executive Dion McKenzie and ex-Googler Ashleigh Ainsley teamed up to create a non-profit that would help to increase the number ethnic minorities entering the UK tech workforce and inspire thousands of past and future leaders join the movement. Colorintech is focused on one mission - to make Europe the most inclusive tech hub in the world.
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