New festival aims to develop tech sector in Oxfordshire - Only 15% of the tech workforce are from BAME backgrounds - Gender diversity is only 19% in the tech workforce
A new two-day virtual festival will celebrate the tech industry, create connections amongst tech innovators and help companies foster diversity and gender balance in the industry.
OxTech Fest, organised by Brookes Enterprise Support with the Institute for Ethical AI at Oxford Brookes University, runs on 7 and 8 September this year. Tickets for the free event are available now.
The Festival features high-profile speakers including:
- Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Digital and Culture in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
- Carrie Anne Philbin MBE, Director of Education at the Raspberry Pi Foundation
- Charlene Hunter, CEO & founder of Coding Black Females.
With a focus on diversity throughout the whole festival, the panel debates will give a voice to those currently underrepresented in the tech industry.
Lydiah Igweh, Director of Brookes Enterprise Support, said: “The pandemic widened the inequality gap, with those from less privileged backgrounds sometimes struggling to break into the tech industry. Now, as we start to build back from the impact of Covid-19, we have an opportunity to refocus the sector.
"There is huge demand for both tech skills and tech entrepreneurs - it is a golden time to create more balance and give opportunities to those who have been denied them. OxTech Fest is a great stepping stone for our county to really lead the way.”
OxTech Fest is aimed at those running tech businesses, or those looking for a career in tech. Alongside speakers and panel debates, there will be free workshops and webinars to develop skills, learn about job opportunities and placements. Panel discussions include topics such as the future of the gaming industry, tech in space, neurodiversity in tech and ethical business practices.
At the festival the Young Tech For Good Award will be presented. This competition asked school aged children to create a tech solution to a global problem, using the UN 2021 Goals for inspiration. The winning team will receive £2,000 funding for tech and AI related projects in their school.
OxTech Fest is supported by Dell, Nominet, Perspectum Diagnostics, AWS and Oxford City Council.