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Tom Attwood, Chairman of The Hg Foundation, on its first four years

The Foundation has grown significantly in the short period since our launch four years ago and has now invested $25million in 25 programmes. All this in pursuit of our objective that the technology workforce of the future should harness the talents of everyone, regardless of background.  

Underpinned by a dedicated central team and with more support than ever from those within Hg, we have launched eight new substantive partnerships in 2023/24, investing almost $6.5m.   These programmes have ranged from work with early teenagers to develop their tech skills and open their eyes to careers in STEM, all the way through to projects that work directly to place underserved and disadvantaged groups into tech jobs. All are rooted in the evidence of where the barriers lay in the pipeline of tech talent; and all have in common a commitment to understand and measure their impact. 

Importantly this year too, we agreed our first regrants to organisations the Foundation funded in its early days and which now show signs of promise. SEO’s Tech Developer Programme in the US completed its third year, and the data suggests that an impressive 70% of those who were recruited to the initiative are now in tech roles, predominantly as software engineers. And in the UK, we have extended our support for upReach’s Tech500 programme, to support more low-income undergraduates to take their first steps on the career ladder. 

We have also embarked on several exploratory projects in new areas, to scope out and understand where we might have a greater impact.  This includes work to understand the mismatch between the tech skills coming out of the education system and the demands of the sector; a pilot project to match tech industry professionals with Computing teachers in disadvantaged schools; and our first project, in collaboration with a Hg portfolio company, supporting mature learners to gain digital skills and jobs in the tech sector.

We are now supporting, at a significant level, over 20 partnerships and have invested heavily in supporting those programmes to understand the difference they are making compared to business as usual, and their relative cost effectiveness.    It is still early days, but The Foundation is building a powerful network of organisations working in different contexts to address common challenges around social mobility and recruiting great talent from diverse backgrounds.   Our hope as we develop further is that this community will learn from one another and help us – and the tech sector more widely – to draw wider lessons and make better-informed decisions about where to invest in the future. 

Because there is, without doubt, lots more to do to make our vision a reality.