BCS gets £18,000 to develop 'unconscious bias training' for IT pros

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, says it will "address the gender, ethnicity and disability gap affecting the IT profession".

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BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, says it will "address the gender, ethnicity and disability gap affecting the IT profession".

It plans to do this by "developing unconscious bias training" through funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Institute will receive £18,000 to establish a "tried and tested training model for unconscious bias", complete with "out-of-the-box" materials.

Materials will be shared via professional engineering institutions (PEIs) that have signed the Engineering Diversity Concordat, who have the option of delivering the programme across their own organisations.

Rebecca George, chair of the BCS policy and public affairs board, said: "Thanks to this funding we will be able to extend our work in this field with the aim of changing cultures and attitudes, and ultimately breaking down barriers to a more diverse leadership in our profession."

She added: "We are keen to help our members and other engineering institutions be recognised for diversity in their industries, and for training messages to filter out via members into their place of employment, thus catalysing a change throughout the professions.”

Dame Wendy Hall, chair of the Engineering Diversity Concordat, said: “By developing training materials that can be shared, we will be moving a step further towards our ultimate goal of ensuring our profession and its institutions continue to thrive, by attracting and retaining engineers from increasingly diverse backgrounds.”

The Institute will pilot the scheme across its specialist group and branch committee members, initially training around 300 individuals by the end of 2015.

Between November 2012 and September 2013, the Institute ran 11 unconscious bias workshops for members of centrally reporting boards and committees, training 103 volunteers about unconscious bias in all aspects of diversity, race, LBGT+Q, age, obesity, disability and gender.

The Concordat is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. BCS is one of 19 professional engineering institutions to adopt the Concordat.

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