December 8, 2022

This Black Internship Scheme Is Helping Talent Land Jobs At Top Firms

Black-led charity, 10,000 Black Interns, has helped thousands of young Black professionals get their foot into elitist sectors through their schemes and work opportunities. 

The UK-based charity, co-founded by Michael Barrington Hibbert, Wol Kolade, Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, and Jonathan Sorrell, has helped thousands of young Black people access paid internships in hundreds of companies including Amazon, TikTok, Bloomberg, and Deloitte.

“Some of our candidates experience a king of imposter syndrome. They don’t necessarily think that these industries are for them, or they haven’t been considered when they have applied to these roles [directly],” said Nana Campbell, the program’s director.

Campbell says they do not lower their standards when selecting interns. The companies they partner with have also agreed only to accept candidates that meet or exceed their expectations.

According to the organization, a third of their 2021 intern cohort landed full-time jobs at their host company.

Addressing hiring biases

Over the years, statistics have shown that Black people are less likely to enter top-flight professions. For example, according to reports, approximately 1.4% of CEOs and CFOs n the FTSE 100 are Black.

Additionally, in high-profile roles like journalism, academia, and senior civil servants, Black people make up only 1%, which is unsettling. 

“Biases do exist within these hiring processes, because otherwise, they would be seeing more Black talent within the organizations,” Campbell explains.

While programs like 10,000 Black Interns provide companies with diverse candidates, Campbell acknowledges more is needed to add the racial gap in these industries.

“One thing [companies get wrong] is thinking they can hire a handful of interns, and that solves their diversity issues. That’s not the case – it’s much more complex than that. There’s a lot of ongoing work to do.”

“As a small organization, unfortunately, we can’t solve it all… We’re very clear that we’re only addressing one aspect of a wider issue.”

Employers must also step up to the plate.

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.