Former Prime Minister David Cameron is among high-profile figures who have thrown their weight behind a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of internships available to black candidates.
The 10,000 Black Interns initiative, set to launch tomorrow, is designed to boost the number of paid work experience positions for young black people in major industries including finance and law.
Organisers of the scheme, which is based on a smaller programme that provided internships in the fund management sector, said they have received support from employers in the accountancy, education, finance, legal, marketing and recruitment sectors, among others.
The programme has also secured backing from former Labour Party figures and the CBI.
“This initiative will help build a more inclusive economy that works for everyone,” Cameron said.
The scheme, which will be the first major internship scheme aimed at black applicants, comes amid growing scrutiny over the lack of diversity in top roles at British businesses.
Figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2018 black employees earned on average nine per cent less per hour than white British workers, while those of Chinese and Indian heritage earned 31 per cent and 12 per cent more respectively.
Black employees typically earned more than those with Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage.
In August the UK’s fund management industry came together to launch 100 Black Interns, a project offering paid internships in the sector next summer.
The programme was spearheaded by Jonathan Sorrell, president of Capstone Investment Advisors, and secured backing from more than 70 City institutions, including Man Group, Pimco and Janus Henderson.
The launch of the expanded programme comes a week after the London Chamber of Commerce rolled out a new scheme to support black business ownership and black employees in the capital.