About Sunderland Software City

Sunderland Software City address the changing needs of the tech sector through a range of innovation, digital skills and business support programmes. This includes the delivery of Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley, which is part of the national Digital Catapult network.

For over a decade, they have been working closely with local tech sector organisations and government. They represent the region’s tech sector on national level, feeding into the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of the UK Tech Cluster Group which is chaired by their CEO David Dunn.


The Challenge

It’s important to Sunderland Software City as an organisation to have different thought processes, backgrounds and experiences to draw upon and help business be successful. They wanted to be more accessible as an organisation are they grow both internally and also from a client perspective. They wanted all colleagues in the business to have an understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion to clear up any ambiguities and form a cohesive approach as a business.

Hiring posed as a main challenge as there was a lack of diversity in their candidate pools, and they were hiring the same type of person. They also noted that they wanted their recruitment process to be as accessible as possible to promote equality of opportunity for everyone.


50:50 Training Support


Click here to read more about our training modules




“The training has helped us understand how important it is not only to promote ED&I internally but also externally and to consider different approaches to recruitment in order to increase accessibility.”
Jill McKinney, Head of Skills

The whole dynamic of the team has changed, we really needed a ‘stop moment’ as we had become quite stale in our makeup. As a team we are now more mindful, we better appreciate different personality types and are more accepting of one another. Since the 50:50 training we’ve seen an increase in colleagues sharing their opinions and having open conversations. As a result, our team has been more productive and successful – harnessing those differences in opinions and utilising the diversity of thought we now have.

We have had a full overhaul and review of our recruitment process which has attracted a more diverse range of people. This has helped us embrace different cultures and backgrounds as a result. We have reworded our job descriptions, being mindful of the language we use and have now incorporated an ED&I statement resulting in an instant shift in applicants so much so that one job role we previously advertised with no applicants was then inundated with interested candidates.

We already have formed an internal ‘Inclusivity’ working group so we will be progressing themes that arise from colleagues from those forums.

We are a multi dimensional workplace now which makes for a more interesting team to be a part of.


Website: www.sunderlandsoftwarecity.com/
Industry: Tech


“Since their training programme ended only six months ago, they have already seen a huge impact. We can’t believe the huge progress the team at Sunderland Software City has made in such a short space of time which shows their commitment and investment to an authentic ED&I strategy and approach. We can’t wait to work with them again in 2022 on next steps and refresher training.”