05 Mar 2024
by Sarah Adefehinti

A genuine approach to diversity in tech

I'm going to be honest: often, when companies talk about diversity and inclusion, my brain switches off.

Not because I don't care about the concept. But mostly, I think many people pay it lip service without actually caring enough about dismantling root issues, or taking meaningful action beyond a hashtag.

I know there are a lot of barriers for people even just wanting to do this (although I won’t go into them in this post.) So, I would like to share how our work at Founders and Coders (FAC) tries to go beyond this and craft an impactful strategy for social mobility.

Throughout, I'll make suggestions on how both government and industry can build on this.

The power of community

Inclusion is not about assuming what people need: it’s making sure people feel belonging and are heard. In practice, that means actively involving them in the creation and iteration of your initiatives. That could be through focus groups, feedback forms or directly asking them for input at every stage.

If you build it with and for people, they will come.

Imagine if every big tech company invested in co-creating spaces that feel like home - to women, non-binary folks, and underrepresented people! Instead of just writing a generic ‘we care about diversity’ message, action looks like mentorship programmes, support networks, and impactful events catering to the needs of their target beneficiaries. Having mentors that represent those demographics involved in creation and delivery makes a difference.

Focus on equity, not equality

At FAC, we don’t just open doors, we walk people through them. A bit of extra support goes a long way. We do this through strategic partnerships with organisations to reach underrepresented groups, and by creating specific support groups for marginalised genders.

We work with the premise of equity, not equality - eg. recognising that some people need an extra leg up to get to the same place.

Social mobility may seem like a buzzword, but at its core, it’s about making sure everyone gets a fair shot. For us, it means not just offering free education but ensuring it’s accessible and meaningful.

Industry and government can contribute by not just offering opportunities, but by actively removing barriers and supporting people to go for gold. The right government policies can create massive change: continuing to fund apprenticeship and upskilling programmes is key to enable people to access opportunities previously unreachable to them.

This intersects with companies’ responses to these programmes: right now, an apprenticeship levy exists - so use it! Invest in budding talent, and you will see a massive return on investment… For your company and for the wider tech ecosystem.

Collaborate, don’t isolate

One of our biggest takeaways from 10 years of FAC has been that no one does it alone - it takes a village.

We wouldn’t be where we are without our partnerships and our learners who co-create our curriculum and programmes with us. And there is still a world of potential partnerships out there!

As proud as I am of our little corner of the tech world, we know it doesn’t end there; it’s an ongoing dialogue that we all need to be a part of. It’s about asking ourselves, our employers, and our communities: what’s next? How do we accelerate this momentum?

My provocation to you and your company is this:

What steps can you take to go beyond lip service?

Who do you want to reach, and what do those people say they need from you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and reservations.

Let's keep the action going. Your move.

TechTogether - Hubpage CTA

TechTogether - related resources


Skills, Talent and Diversity updates

Sign-up to get the latest updates and opportunities from our Skills, Talent and Diversity programme.

Join our tech community!

Our members develop strong networks, build meaningful partnerships and grow their businesses as we all work together to create a thriving environment where industry, government and stakeholders come together to realise the positive outcomes tech can deliver.

Join our tech community!


Sarah Adefehinti

Sarah Adefehinti

Community Lead, Founders and Coders

Sarah is a community professional who specialises in connecting people using decentralised principles. With over 8 years of experience, her work focuses on fostering authentic connections and in co-creating micro-societies where people can learn to thrive, navigate complexity and evolve collectively.