PreparationTech launches diversity and inclusion in tech for high school students

December 7, 2023

The PreparationTech Foundation is pleased to announce the official kick off of a pilot program aimed at mentoring Dutch high school students belonging to groups under-represented in the tech industry: girls, non-white students and students from low-income communities. The program will run until July 2024 and focus on helping students from five high schools in Amsterdam and Almere understand what it's like to work for tech companies and the array of jobs and opportunities that they offer.

Deborah Carter, PreparationTech's Managing Director, says "We've heard over and over again that the tech industry has a diversity problem. With this pilot program, we are tackling this challenge in a systemic and strategic way early in the talent pipeline process. We're aiming to encourage these high school students to choose technology as their 'profiel' (specialization) in high school and build up a network of mentors in the tech industry. So when they have to choose training, study and career paths after high school, technology will be in the mix. Preparation is power, sooner rather than later."

The pilot program will integrate company visits, work experiences and ideathons sponsored by the participating companies: leading global financial technology platform, Adyen, Rabobank, one of the Netherlands' largest banks, and Schuberg Philis, a Dutch IT company serving vital industries in their mission-critical business. Participating schools were carefully selected based on demographics and a commitment from the school's leadership.

Key statistics include:

- 47% girls
- 70% non native Dutch (both parents not born in the Netherlands)
- approx. 63% low-income
- 60% 3rd year, 20% 4th year and 20% other years
- 60% HAVO, 20% HAVO/VWO and 20% other levels (refers to academic levels in Dutch high school system)
- 60% currently enrolled in a tech-related class (informatics, computer science, coding, AI, maker education, digital literacy, etc.)

During the kick-off event at Adyen on December 6th, approximately 100 students heard from Alex Matthey, the company's CTO, and employees from different tech and business units about their work, networked with campus recruiters and received coaching on how to set up an effective LinkedIn page.