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Panel discussion at TOMAS 3 event

TOMAS CONNECT #1: Diversity in your tech team!

On 14 April 2022, the first edition of TOMAS Connect #01, an online event for talent development, took place. The theme: diversity and inclusion.

TOMAS, the talent platform for Amsterdam, held its first online matchmaking event on 14 April. Five strong initiatives presented their programmes and their work for more diversity and inclusion to a range of businesses, which could then get more information and insight in meetings in break-out rooms.

Diversity and inclusion in Amsterdam’s tech scene

Launched in November 2021, TOMAS aims to simplify investing in local talent. It brings the Amsterdam Area’s wide range of existing talent initiatives in tech together to make talent development more visible, more accessible and more organised. The platform is a partnership between the Amsterdam Economic Board, the City of Amsterdam, the Digital Society School of the AUAS, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and StartupAmsterdam. After less than half a year of being live, the TOMAS website already includes more than 141 initiatives for talent development, 65 of which have a focus on IT.

Tomas Connect tech talent matchmaking event promotional banner
Image from TOMAS Connect

The first edition of TOMAS Connect had plenty to offer for businesses looking to solve a shortage of IT and tech employees. These are the five initiatives that were featured at the event:

Hack your Future offers a free seven-month web development course for refugees and other disadvantaged groups with limited access to education and the labour market. To date, the programme has helped more than 200 people find work, including a large number of refugees. Participants learn Javascript, CSS and HTML. They are supported by senior developers and other tech professionals, but there is also a strong focus on independent working and self-reliance as well as soft skills. Businesses looking to fill junior IT roles and internships are invited to get in touch; Hack your Future is also looking for volunteers to help support and supervise talent.

Code to Change aims to contribute to gender equality by entering into strategic partnerships with businesses and offering tailormade bootcamps about requested subjects. These include machine learning, UX design and Javascript. Code to Change has worked with companies such as Uber,, Marktplaats and Accenture.

TechGrounds trains IT talent with a focus on women and people with a diverse background, helping them develop the skills needed to succeed. Candidates are not selected on work experience, but on motivation and potential. Taking between four and six months, TechGrounds’ programmes include courses on web development, cloud computing and Salesforce. The initiative has a focus on long-term partnerships with businesses, but companies imminently looking for junior tech talent are also encouraged to get in touch.

Deeplo AI trains refugees that are higher education graduates, trying to connect them to businesses looking for IT talent by way of its ‘virtual experience programmes’, which offer candidates a chance to showcase their skills and businesses a way of presenting themselves and their work environment.

And finally, TechMeUp is a foundation offering interest-free loans to tech talent wanting to follow full-time education and needing support with cost of living. The foundation welcomes donations to be able to help more applicants. Also worthy of note is its newsletter, which lists all TechMeUp graduates and can serve as a helpful tool for recruiters.

TOMAS Connect 1 diagram diversity in your tech team
Image from TOMAS

Meet TOMAS at TOMAS Connect

The break-out sessions offered plenty of opportunities for finding out more from the individual initiatives, and lots of questions were asked – and answered – about programmes and subjects, about selection and evaluation of participants, and more.

The next TOMAS event is already scheduled, and this time it will be live and in person. On 30 June, TOMAS Connect will take place in Amsterdam.

Read more about TOMAS, get updates on LinkedIn and check out its virtual pin board on the website (in Dutch).