Meet the Winners – Opencast

The trophies have been given out, toasts have been made and the canapés have been eaten. After four fantastic global events recognizing the work of organizations and individuals across the cloud industry, the Digital Revolution Awards 2023 season has come to a close.

Throughout the Digital Revolution Awards 2023 events, we saw many outstanding winners take the stage, receiving a round of applause for making a positive impact on our world through cloud technology.

Now it’s time to shine a spotlight on some of those worthy victors and showcase the fantastic work that made them winners in the Digital Revolution Awards.

In this Meet the Winners blog, we’re getting to know the winner of our  Diversity and Inclusion Employer of the Year award, Opencast.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Employer of the Year award acknowledges a company that is making the cloud space a more inclusive, rewarding, and fulfilling place to work for professionals from all walks of life.

This award is all about celebrating the companies taking proactive and impactful actions to promote inclusivity, foster diversity, and champion equality both within their workforce and beyond.

The winner of this year’s Diversity and Inclusion Employer of the Year award is an organization that has made demonstrable progress in its efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

By thinking strategically and making tangible changes to its hiring process, internal development procedures, and employee support systems, Opencast is driving real transformation.

A fast-growing, independent technology consultancy, Opencast specializes in designing, building and running cloud-based, user-centred technology solutions with purpose.

Internally, the company’s community of employees work to promote inclusivity, foster diversity and champion equality. Bringing these different perspectives to the table has been central to helping the company grow its open and inclusive culture, where people can come to work as their true selves.

Behind everything Opencast is doing around EDI is a drive to be better. Currently, just 15% of the UK tech sector’s workforce comes from a minority ethnic background, and only 19% identify as women. But as a signatory of the Tech Talent Charter Opencast is taking action to achieve a better workforce balance, including training over 100 employees to interview candidates, helping broaden perspectives on potential employees and eliminating unconscious bias.

And these actions are producing tangible results. In the first quarter of 2022, 48% of Opencast’s new hires were women, compared to 15% four years ago. There’s also considerable gender diversity at its senior level, with three women on its executive board, and women making up 50% of its wider leadership team.

Opencast is also fostering diversity by offering visa sponsorship certificates to help ambitious technologists relocate to the UK. More than 30 nationalities are now represented in the company’s workforce, up 50% in the past year alone. And with a dedicated People Experience Team on hand to help new hires settle into UK life, everyone joining the business is made to feel welcome and supported.

The company is also helping those who’ve taken a career break to get back into the industry through its partnership with specialist talent agency Tech Returners. Opencast runs programs to help former service members kickstart new careers in tech too; work that’s earned them Silver Membership of the MoD’s Armed Forces Covenant. Further demonstrating its commitment to creating opportunities for all, Opencast is a signatory to the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, and a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions program supporting LGBTQ+ communities.

Their focus on not only making things more inclusive today, but also paving the way for greater inclusivity in tomorrow’s digital sector was something that impressed our judging panel. Especially noteworthy is the company’s work with Youth Group to provide mentors for young people looking to develop a future career in the tech industry.

Not content with making Opencast a great place to work—it was recently recognized by Newsweek as the UK’s 19th Most Loved Workplace— the company’s people-centric efforts are making an impactful difference well beyond its own workforce.

As well as donating 2.5% of profits to charities working UK-wide, they also support initiatives designed to give people from underserved areas a pathway into technology and out of deprivation, such as Dynamo North East’s Talent Engine.

We spoke to Opencast’s Head of Talent Engagement Lorna Madden, and Head of People Operations Lindsey Steinberg after their win to see how they were feeling.

“Honestly, overwhelmed!” said Lorna.

“It’s such a massive recognition of everything we’ve done over the past couple of years,” said Lindsey, “and it feels like we’ve done a lot but to get the recognition for it is huge.”

“EDI is at the center of everything we do,” explained Lorna, “and it’s just about really relaying absolutely everything we’ve done over the past couple of years, and our journey.

“It’s not been easy. We started off from scratch and to get to where we are now has made a huge difference and created a sense of belonging for everybody.”

The pair were delighted to take their trophy back to the company’s Newcastle HQ and celebrate their win. “It’s just that massive recognition for everything we’ve done,” said Lindsey, “The whole company was absolutely buzzing to be honest!”

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