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Thales Champions Gender Diversity with Successful On-boarding from Code First Girls Partnership

Thales UK has made a significant leap in championing gender diversity by successfully integrating a cohort of women into their workforce, thanks to their innovative partnership with Code First Girls (CFG). This initiative has not only challenged traditional recruitment norms but has also marked a tangible step toward fostering an inclusive environment in software development.

The Challenge Overcome

Facing a critical need for 3 million skilled workers by 2025, the UK's tech sector has historically seen women represent only 26% of the workforce, with the risk of potential economic growth of £2.6 billion due to gender disparity. Thales UK has embraced the challenge, recognizing the necessity of harnessing this untapped potential.

A New Recruitment Ethos

Thales's collaboration with CFG has set aside conventional recruitment barriers like educational requirements, focusing instead on candidates' technical aptitude,  eagerness to learn and behaviours Over the past year, this partnership has carved out and funded 11 spots for women through CFG’s hiring and development program, aiming to cultivate talent in the software engineering realm.

Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, emphasizes the importance of the initiative: “Getting women into tech is just the first hurdle - retaining them in the industry and ultimately seeing them lead it are the next ones. With many women coders leaving their roles due to no clear pathway or progression, the MLA course will be fundamental in helping businesses to retain the female tech talent they desperately need.”

The CFG Degree Journey

Following a thorough assessment process by CFG, the candidates embarked on the CFG Degree — a specialized program designed to develop their software engineering skills. Upon graduating in September 2023, Thales honored its pledge by transitioning the successful participants into permanent roles within the company.

Kirsten Booth, Talent, Learning & Culture Specialist at Thales, points out the systemic issues that the partnership seeks to address: “The UK’s education system is failing to support women from more diverse backgrounds into tech. As a result, there remains a lack of female role models in the industry which reinforces the perception that tech is not a realistic career choice for women."

"In our partnership with Code First Girls, we have seen first-hand the difference that they have on hiring practices, biases, and recruiting on potential and behaviours. Code First Girls’ offers a  unique pathway aimed at accelerating women’s careers, which will give women the opportunity to advance and develop their skills, helping them to become role models for other women in the industry.”

Reflecting on Success and Looking Ahead

The successful onboarding of these 11 pioneering individuals marks the culmination of their training and the beginning of their promising careers as software engineers at Thales. This pilot initiative lays the groundwork for expanding this model in the future, aspiring to welcome an even larger intake by 2025 as the supporting infrastructure and processes are enhanced.

Implications for the Future

This accomplishment is a testament to Thales's and CFG’s dedication to actualizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the tech industry. It highlights the critical role of support and clear career pathways in not only attracting but also retaining women in tech.

Booth adds, “The programme will enable women in tech to mentor and coach female talent, while helping businesses draw on the widest possible range of voices and insights to ensure the tech industry is as strong as it can be.”

By acting on the conviction that a diverse workforce is not only fair but also advantageous, Thales has set a precedent for how tech companies can and should approach recruitment and talent development.

For an in-depth look at this ground-breaking initiative and its implications for the future of technology careers, visit Thales Group UK and Code First Girls.