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Business, education and political leaders back the launch of 10,000 Black Interns campaign

Ambitious programme to transform prospects of young Black people in the United Kingdom

Major organisations and representatives from industry, education and politics have today joined together to announce the launch of 10,000 Black Interns. The programme will help transform the horizons and prospects of young Black people in the United Kingdom, following on just two months after the successful launch of the investment management industry’s #100blackinterns initiative.

The 10,000 Black Interns programme will offer paid work experience across a wide range of sectors, providing training and development opportunities and creating a sustainable cycle of mentorship and sponsorship for the Black community.

10,000 Black Interns is led by Dawid Konotey-Ahulu (a co-founder of Redington Limited and Mallowstreet), Jonathan Sorrell (President of Capstone Investment Advisors), Michael Barrington-Hibbert (founder of Barrington Hibbert Associates) and Wol Kolade (Managing Partner of Livingbridge), who are also behind #100blackinterns. Capstone Investment Advisors, the global alternative asset management firm, will fund the programme’s launch, with voluntary contributions from participating companies developing the initiative further over time. A search for a Chief Executive and supporting team, together with Trustees, for the 10,000 Black Interns Foundation will begin shortly.

Senior political figures from across the political spectrum, including Baroness Amos, David Cameron and Chuka Umunna, are supporting this initiative, which encourages the United Kingdom’s companies and professional services providers to follow the recent example of the investment management industry and join forces to build a parallel effort in their own sectors as part of the 10,000 Black Interns initiative. This programme also has the backing of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) which together will be encouraging their respective members to participate.

At launch, leading representatives from ten sectors, including Accountancy, Education, Health Data Science, Healthcare Management, Insurance, Investment Management, Law, Long-term Savings, Marketing & Advertising and Recruitment, have already committed to play their part.

David Cameron, the former Conservative Prime Minister, 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.”

Baroness Amos, the Labour Peer and former diplomat, commented: “It is so powerful to see leading players in different sectors pulling together to address the underrepresentation 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.”

Chuka Umunna, the former Liberal Democrat MP, said: “Companies recognise their responsibilities to the societies in which they operate. This is one way for them to have a real impact in the long run and to broaden the talent pool from which they can draw. The goals of creating a diverse workforce and an inclusive economy will happen exponentially faster once we have gender and ethnically diverse leaders.”

10,000 Black interns will offer transformative career opportunities to Black students in the United Kingdom and will work in partnership with bodies representing a comprehensive range of higher education institutions including University Alliance, GuildHE, MillionPlus and the Russell Group. These bodies together represent 84 institutions with an estimated one million students, of whom approximately 80,000 are Black.

The programme will build on the successful launch of the #100black interns, where leading players in the investment management industry have come together to address the chronic underrepresentation of Black talent in their sector. Since its launch in August, the programme has garnered extraordinary support with 200 investment management companies offering internships in the Summer of 2021 to Black students in the United Kingdom as a way of attracting a more diverse range of talent to their industry. In addition, the Health Data Science community, under the lead of Health Data Research UK, will soon launch a partner internship initiative for health data scientists, also in the Summer 2021.

#100blackinterns will serve as the template for initiatives in other industries with internships offered in late 2021 and the Summer of 2022. Through the expanded 10,000 Black Interns programme, we aim to have companies in more than 20 sectors, each offering, where feasible, approximately 100 internships per year for five years in order to reach the ultimate goal of providing 10,000 internships to young Black people.

Internships offer critical experiences as students pursue their career ambitions. As Joseph Simeon, Programme Consultant to 10,000 Black Interns and an intern in a number of financial services firms in recent years observed: “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 – and plenty of support, particularly from the Amos Bursary – I finally secured the first of several internships which have led to a fantastic permanent position. I now see my set of work experiences as the most defining moments of my life so far and am under no illusion that I could have secured this without such support, advice, and sponsorship. Taking invaluable lessons from my failures and successes, I am committed to doing my very best to help equip others coming behind me. I already have several mentees and I am excited to be on this journey with them.”

From this initiative, the aim is to create a sustainable, growing expansion in of the quality and quantity of opportunities for Black people in the United Kingdom. Interns who have benefitted from the 10,000 Black Interns programme will commit to a longer-term responsibility to advise, mentor and sponsor other Black pupils and students and guide them into the workplace, creating more, high quality career opportunities for Black people over time.

In the course of 2020 and the 2021, the 10,000 Black Interns programme, organised into Industry Groups, will be developed and launched. Each Industry Group will have a Steering Committee of four people who will be responsible for managing each phase of the project with the guidance and support of the 10,000 Black Interns Foundation (which will be established formally in the coming months). 10,000 Black Interns will select the Steering Committees from those who volunteer to drive the effort forward in their sector.

Those interested in being part of their sector’s programme should visit www.10000blackinterns.com and register their details.

  • For further information, please contact:
    Gay Collins, Montfort Communications: +44 (0) 7798 626282 / gaycollins@montfort.london
  • Jason Nisse, The Nisse Consultancy: +44 (0) 7769 688618 / jason@nisse.uk