The Institute of Coding (IoC), which is led by the University of Bath, has won an award for a diversity and inclusion campaign at the PR Week Awards.

The CTRL Your Future campaign won the Best Use of Content award after succeeding in reaching a larger, more diverse group of learners and getting them inspired to consider digital skills education and careers.

The CTRL Your Future campaign launched on Ada Lovelace Day in October 2019, developed by the IoC and creative agency Karmarama. The campaign was based on research from IoC partners and a nationwide poll that revealed young people’s deeply held perceptions that the digital sector and workforce lacked diversity.

For example, 71% of respondents said they believe that the tech industry is made up of people solely identifying as heterosexual, 83% believe it’s led by men, and 70% said it is run entirely by people of white, British ethnicity. Through the research and polling, it was clear that factors were actively discouraging young people from pursuing digital skills education and careers.

To address this, IoC teamed up with some of the digital industry’s most exciting trailblazers to showcase inspiring examples of people shifting the dial on diversity in this field. By showcasing their exciting and creative work and their personal journeys into tech, the campaign aimed to identify and address barriers people may face, highlight accessible role models learning and working in the sector, and show the varied options possible for tech careers.

One judge commented that CTRL Your Future was a “smashing use of both audience insight and content. Very smart, engaging and energising.”

Dr Rachid Hourizi, Director of the Institute of Coding, said: “I’m thrilled that the CTRL Your Future campaign is being recognised with a national PR award. This campaign has allowed us to reach a larger and more diverse group of learners and provide resources that help people navigate the landscape of digital skills education. This includes a variety of short, online courses which are more flexible and accessible. Through this campaign and our transformation of digital skills education, we have enrolled more than 650,000 learners to date and are seeing improved diversity within our learner cohort.

“Alicia McEwan is responsible for the development and ongoing implementation of this campaign, working with creative agency Karmarama. Other colleagues who have worked on the campaign are Ruth Newell, Hannah Stubbs and Ellie O’Hare. We based the campaign on research, information and guidance from Institute of Coding partners and, specifically, our Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board which is chaired by Neil Milliken.”

As part of the campaign, IoC has rolled out events, panel talks, workshops and short films – showing the real, accessible opportunities in digital and calling for more people from all backgrounds to get involved via higher education.