Firms sign up to #10000BlackInterns scheme for workplace diversity

The NHS, the law firm Linklaters and the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers are among the large companies that have promised to cumulatively hire 10,000 black interns amid a push to improve the diversity of the UK’s professional industries.

Businesses who sign up to the #10000BlackInterns programme will offer paid internships in sectors that have struggled to increase their ethnic diversity to match the broader UK population.

Companies or other organisations from education, healthcare and advertising have already signed up to the scheme, alongside accountants and the legal profession.

In the insurance industry Zurich has already signed up, while in the banking sector Credit Suisse has said it will take part alongside the recruitment firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

The scheme has received backing from the Confederation of British Industry, the UK’s largest business lobby group, as well as the former prime minister David Cameron and Lady Amos, a Labour peer.

It follows the successful launch of a smaller scheme, 100 Black Interns, in August, targeted at the “chronic under-representation of Black talent” in the investment management industry. More than 200 investment companies have signed up to the earlier initiative.

Both campaigns were started by the same team of former investment industry professionals.

The campaign intends to hire a chief executive and trustees shortly as it gains more partners, with the aim of rolling out the internships over the course of 2020 and 2021. Those interns will then commit to mentor and sponsor future interns on the programme.

Cameron said: “This initiative will help build a more inclusive economy that works for everyone. We are encouraging leaders from British industry and professional services to champion the effort in their sector.”

Amos, a former diplomat, said: “It is so powerful to see leading players in different sectors pulling together to address the under-representation of Black talent in such a tangible and sustainable fashion. Of course there is so much more to do, but this programme is a great step in the right direction.”