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Tech Industry

London aiming for equality in tech industry, deputy mayor says

"The last thing we need in London is another white middle class club," deputy mayor for business and enterprise Kit Malthouse said, at an event to promote London Tech Week.

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City Hall in London, where London's deputy mayor spoke about London Tech Week. Getty Images

Improving equality and education in the UK tech industry is a key aim of London Tech Week, the upcoming series of events aimed at showcasing the capital's technological prowess, according to the city's deputy mayor for business and enterprise.

"The last thing we need in London is another white middle class club," deputy mayor Kit Malthouse told CNET. "We've got lots of those already, in various industries, so we're very keen for the tech industry to avoid that mistake."

London Tech Week, which begins on 16 June, will consist of high-powered international conferences and investor meetings, and will star tech giants such as Google and Microsoft.

The series of events also wants to promote diversity in the tech scene, however, and will give a platform to organisations like Dragon Hall, which provides a place for kids to try their hand at handling tech such as the 3Doodler 3D printing pen, or the programmable Makey Makey invention kit, at no cost.

3D printing company Ultimaker is another firm aiming at education, following last year's curriculum shake-up that saw the futuristic printing tech introduced to UK schools. Ultimaker is working on expanding the educational uses of 3D printing beyond design, to use in other subjects, such as history.

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Hence this charming 3D-printed pyramid. Luke Westaway/CNET

Malthouse said the project was keen for the UK tech industry to "penetrate as far and as wide as we possibly can, both geographically, ethnically, and particularly amongst young people."

"The next genius in tech might not be a PhD student from Imperial," the deputy mayor added, "it might be a little girl from Brixton who just happens to have a great idea and a brilliant talent, but just doesn't have the opportunity. We can present those opportunities."

Diversifying the UK tech industry is a noble goal, but London Tech Week could face an uphill struggle. For instance, last year a skills study from the Institution of Engineering and Technology noted, "Only 7 percent of the engineering workforce is female, highlighting that the UK has a persistent problem in encouraging women into the engineering and IT sectors."