Delivery Hero Tackling A Major Hurdle To More Diversity In Tech

Germany-Based Delivery Hero Launched Its Recent Tech Academy Recently, It Showed Us One Way To Create Both More And Better Jobs.

By Jennifer Marston

When Berlin, Germany-Based Delivery Hero Launched Its Recent Tech Academy Recently, It Showed Us One Way To Create Both More And Better Jobs In The Restaurant Industry — and make those available to a wider swath of the population. The question is, Will the Delivery Hero Tech Academy be successful enough to influence others in the increasingly tech-centric restaurant industry?

The Tech Academy will teach tech skills to “underrepresented groups” to promote more diversity and inclusion, and also give people more options when it comes to finding a job. To do this, Delivery Hero teamed up with the Digital Career Institute (DCI). Founded in 2016 in Berlin, DCI was originally launched as a way to help refugees get jobs in the tech world. (This was in the wake of the record 1.3 million asylum seekers that came to Europe in 2015.) The organization now operates four locations across Germany and works with over 600 companies to link DCI graduates to job opportunities.

The Delivery Hero Tech Academy will teach coding languages (Java and Python are specifically called out), and the 9.5-months-long program is free to all participants. Those participants may also get an opportunity to move into a permanent position on a backend development team at Delivery Hero following the program. While that’s not a complete guarantee, participants presumably won’t be left out in the cold after graduation, either. DCI’s large network of partner companies will no doubt provide other potential opportunities.

A lack of diversity has long been a major problem in tech. Companies and leaders have made efforts in the form of diversity reports and pledges to do more, but critics have said these efforts will “ring hollow” until changes show up in diversity data. At the same time, the restaurant industry is getting increasingly digitized thanks to the shift towards to-go orders (e.g., delivery) and digital ordering, payment, and management platforms. Theoretically, the switch could create not just more jobs in the industry but jobs that pay higher, are less dangerous, offer the kinds of challenges that make work fulfilling, and lead to new career opportunities down the line.

For many around the world, the above litany remains firmly out of reach. In fact, it’s more common for refugees, undocumented workers, and those with less formal education to wind up working the last mile of delivery. And if there’s one job type that’s the antithesis of safe, fulfilling work that pays well, it’s gig worker jobs like food delivery.

Restaurant tech companies have been saying for a couple years now that they don’t want their AI, automation, and robotic platforms to displace workers. Rather, they want that tech to take over the dirty, dangerous, and boring pieces of the restaurant so that human workers can focus on the proverbial “more meaningful” tasks. So far, few have defined what “meaningful” is in this technocentric restaurant world, or how one manages to acquire the skills to get there. Until now, that is. By helping to provide he education needed to get into the tech part of restaurant tech, Delivery Hero is addressing an area that’s until now not really been talked about. Let’s hope the Tech Academy can start to change that, and inspire other restaurant tech companies to do the same.

This news was originally published at The Spoon.

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