It would be nice to have a "baby ladder" where one player is always UEF, the other player is always Cybran, and you don't get to choose your faction or anything else. Let's say there's only about 3-5 maps for the baby ladder and they don't change month to month, just the most absolute classic maps with no weird amounts of reclaim or navy/water other than maybe a pond to hide in.
All T2 and T3 tech (including HQs, T2 mex, ACU upgrades that correspond roughly to T2) is disabled. If the game lasts more than 20 minutes, call it a draw.
It would force players to make an effort to spam T1 and learn what is possible at the T1 stage. There would be less incentive to turtle. Later when they get into the real ladder they can do whatever they want. But the baby ladder would force a certain mindset of spam/expand/make t1 work for you.
Cybran has a disadvantage because ACU has less HP? UEF nano gun ACU beats Cybran gun+stealth ACU? don't care. At that level, faction advantage/disadvantage is going to be a lot less important than everything else. And fairness isn't really the goal, it's to push them to learn a certain style with less complexity. And cybran has jesters. Even if Cybran has a winrate of only 35%, that wouldn't be a bad thing. Players could feel extra good about winning with Cybran and it's not exactly a tragedy if a bad player manages to win a game because they have an extra 2k hp on their ACU. Bad players want to win sometimes too.
When a player starts crushing it too hard on baby ladder, or when they get a good enough rating on the real ladder, stop letting them queue for baby ladder.
EDIT: I made a mod, called "Stone Age." It's in the vault. It limits you to T1 tech, no mass storages, and it limits the ACU upgrades you can get. With the mod on, the only way you can really spend your mass is to spam factories and spam units from the factories. The idea is that you can learn all of the fundamentals of the game (economic balance, aggression, raiding, defense, scouting, radar, reclaim, etc.) without any of the complexity added by T2 tech, and without the temptation to spend your mass on T2 mass extractors. It forces you to spend the mass immediately on making more factories. So it is a tool to encourage people to learn how to spam and to learn game fundamentals. I am especially interested in hearing from new players if playing some games with this mod helps you to learn.