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“Keep knocking and a door will open”- IT delivery with Leon Jones

3 minute read

There’s a problem with access in the industry. THIS IS HOW was created with the intention of breaking down the barriers that stop a variety of young people from finding jobs and working within the digital skills sector. Our aim is to help democratise the landscape and offer free and accessible opportunities and resources to help people discover and land their dream role. 

In episode 9, we speak to IT delivery lead Leon Jones. Working for LGBT rights charity Stonewall, Leon is responsible for all the IT systems. His role involves implementing or recommending different services to improve productivity within a company.

And given how key Stonewall are for the community they support, that’s no small feat. Leon explains through the seniority of his role he tries to foster an environment that encourages learning, by offering them the support they need to feel comfortable enough to challenge themselves. His wealth of experience in the field means he would know better than most how important an attitude of proactivity, initiative and an endless want to learn is in the world of IT- in fact it’s crucial. Tech’s ever-evolving nature means that engineers have to constantly update their knowledge. The reprieve is that it’s easier than ever to do so; there are expert technicians on platforms like YouTube, their expertise and their accessibility is so useful that even fellow experts like Leon regularly use the site to add to their knowledge bank. Leon details where those at the beginning of their careers can find resources for them to upskill, beyond YouTube. 

While Leon tries to create a healthy working environment, inclusive and supportive to all, in his experience he hasn’t found this to be universal. In the episode Leon details his experience of facing racism in the industry and offers advice about what to take away from such instances which is the perspective that a company that fails to accommodate you isn’t a company that deserves your services in the first place. 

In the fallout of George Floyd’s tragic killing, industries have committed to addressing systemic issues of inequality, or at least superficially so. Doing research into a company and how much they value diversity is increasingly important as it’s now harder to figure out discern which companies are genuine in their sentiments. So here are some practices you can use to know which companies are offering more than just lip service. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that the hiring policies of your potential employers champion diversity:

  1. Look at the Company’s Employees 

A look at the companies website or a scroll through their LinkedIn employee page will give you an insight into how diverse and inclusive the company’s workforce are. A key factor to consider is the diversity of those in the senior positions. A company truly committed to inclusion will have a diverse range of people in the decision making seats. 

2. Ask Questions During Your Interview

The interview is not only a chance for the employer to find out about you, but an opportunity for you to find out about them. So don’t hesitate to enquire about how diverse their workforce are and what they are doing to address and improve on any such issues.

3. Reach out to Connections

If you have any friends or former colleagues that are familiar with the employer, taking them about their experience or perspective can be very useful. In most industries there are even online forums that discuss things like a company’s working culture.

If you aren’t sure what a company that is committed to diversity looks like, look for places that taken actionable items to empower marginalised groups. An example is Accenture, who have partnered with MOBO to create a ‘MOBOLISE’ a platform will be a digital platform to connect Black talent with the best career opportunities, within the most forward-thinking organisations in the UK. 

As they put it “we aim to connect our extensive ecosystem of UK clients and partners with the platform so they may engage, enrol and recruit from this talent pool, thereby strengthening our responsibility to the Black community and to help both parties overcome these key barriers.

Feeling inspired? To discover the skills you need to get the job you want, check out the THIS IS HOW podcast, available to stream on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also take our quiz to find out what digital job roles best suit you and access free learning content at thisishow.uk