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Gloucestershire Business News

Cheltenham signs up to champion tech diversity

Cheltenham Borough Council has committed to championing diversity within tech and digital employment by signing up to the national Tech Talent Charter.

The council joins the likes of Channel 4, Sky, BT and Publica - which delivers shared services between the borough council and Cotswold, Forest of Dean and West Oxfordshire district councils - among around 300 signatories.

The Government-sponsored charter aims to deliver greater diversity in the UK's tech workforce.

Councillor Alex Hegenbarth, cabinet member for corporate services, said: "The council is firmly committed to inclusive recruitment practices.

"We take great pride in the fact we are the first local authority in Gloucestershire to sign up to the charter and look forward to working with other employers across the borough and county to make even more of a difference going forward."

The move comes with Cheltenham planning the £400million multi-purpose development with Cyber Central, the UK's first cyber-focused campus, at its heart.

The council says it will be looking to place a continued focus on its own inclusive recruitment practises, as well as working with the sector across the region to encourage other employers to consider how they can help to deliver diversity across the wider tech and digital workforce.

Publica managing director Jan Britton said: ""It is important that local government reflects the communities it represents.

"I am delighted Publica is supporting the charter as part of our commitment to supporting diversity and providing opportunities to our whole community."

In 2021, Cheltenham's No Child Left Behind project of which the council is a key part, will also be working with a wide variety of stakeholders to look at children's digital inclusion and inspiring young people to develop STEM skills.

Talent Tech Charter chief executive Debbie Forster said: ''The importance of diversity is, thankfully, no longer up for debate.

"The industry now needs to work together to shift the dial - and this will happen a lot quicker if we pool our successes, failures, ideas and learn from them to bring about real structural change in tech businesses and beyond."

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