A campaign to improve employment prospects for young black graduates in the UK has received widespread industry backing.
Launched today (October 27), the #10000blackinterns campaign was 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.
Corporate names, including PWC, Linklaters and Zurich, have already signed up to the initiative, while Credit Suisse pledged to take at least 15 interns across various departments.
The Confederation of British Industry and the ABI said they would encourage their respective members to participate.
Sectors involved in the campaign include accountancy, education, law and recruitment, as well as investment management and insurance.
The initiative follows the #100blackinterns programme in fund management, which saw Brooks Macdonald, Fidelity, LGIM, M&G, Royal London, Schroders and 7IM pledge to offer paid internships to black candidates in a frontline investment position.
Today, the campaign said #100blackinterns had signed up double the expected number of firms, with 200 confirmed firms and more than 1,500 applicants to date.
The overall initiative is led by Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, co-founder of financial consultancy Redington, Jonathan Sorrell, president of Capstone Investment Advisers, Michael Barrington-Hibbert, founder of Barrington Hibbert Associates, and Wol Kolade, managing partner of Livingbridge.
The search for a chief executive, supporting the team and trustees for the #10000blackinterns foundation will begin shortly.
Senior political figures from across the political spectrum, including Mr Cameron, are supporting the initiative.
Mr 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.”
According to the campaign, internships offer “critical” experiences for students pursuing their career ambitions.
Joseph Simeon, a programme consultant at #10000blackinterns and a former intern at financial services firms, said: “As a black male coming from an environment where nobody had ever worked in finance, my chances of having a career in financial services seemed close to impossible.
“However, after many applications, I finally secured the first of several internships which have led to a fantastic permanent position.”
Over the course of 2020 and 2021, the programme will be organised into industry groups, developed and launched.
Companies interested in being part of their sector’s programme should visit www.10000blackinterns.com.
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