Diversity and Inclusion  

The other SJP: How advisers can help with diversity and inclusion

"People didn't have a network of people they could lean on, or go to for help."

This is when he got the idea of creating the BlackInternsMatter campaign, a way to engage with law and other firms to provide opportunities to Black students and graduates to get internships.

"The initial response was overwhelmingly positive". 

Within this, he has created different elements, such as the Access Programme. This is designed for people from low-income backgrounds, from state schools and who have no network. "People who need the help the most", Clague says. 

As part of this, BlackInternsMatter will help with interviews, finding intern placements, as well as using the financial hardship fund to help provide them with technology needed to do their work, providing money for food and travel, and even buying them business attire. 

"These things I have just mentioned have often been stumbling blocks for people. Imagine turning up to a huge international organisation and thinking 'I look and sound different to lots of people here, and I don't have an expensive suit and I've had to borrow clothes to come here'."

While lockdown has pushed back some of Clague's plans, he is confident that the programme can place more than 1,000 Black interns by 2021.

Ongoing plans

But there are many ways that advice companies can help boost diversity in financial services, says Clague, and this does not necessariIy mean taking on apprentices and interns if they are unable to do so.

Advisers can help by supporting in other practical and financial ways - providing advice to help candidates brush up their CVs, or lending their time to do interview practice, or donating to the hardship fund. 

"We want to be able to give people as many opportunities as possible", Clague says, adding: "Whatever that help looks like, it is going to be a 'yes' from us.

"We do have a pot set aside for financial hardship, so if firms cannot take apprentices on but want to help people pursue a career in financial services, that is great.

"If they want to provide their time and become mentors, that is also fantastic."

Clague has also hailed the #10000BlackInterns campaign, which was launched in October 2020 and backed by major City firms, the Association of British Insurers and former prime minister David Cameron.

It hopes to provide 10,000 paid, meaningful opportunities to young, university-educated black people across a range of sectors.