Action for Children has launched a mentoring scheme for black, Asian and minority ethnic employees that will match them with BAME leaders from the corporate world.
The children’s charity has selected 12 staff members who applied to take part in the scheme, which is being run in partnership with the Apollo Project, an initiative of the Interlaw Diversity Forum that aims to provide organisations with the tools to create more inclusive workplaces.
The 12 Action for Children staff have each been matched with mentors from the business world who will meet them once a month for the next year.
The mentees will also take part in a peer-to-peer support group, attend networking events and be given the opportunity to shadow an Action for Children director.
The charity has paid the Apollo Project £5,000 to arrange and manage the placements and has set aside an extra £2,000 for staff training.
Siobhan Corria, head of inclusion at Action for Children, said she wanted the charity to be leading the way on ethnic diversity, but statistics from the charity’s most recent staff survey showed it was not where it wanted to be.
"Action for Children is committed to ensuring that we are fully supporting, developing and progressing our BAME members of staff," she said.
"The breakthrough mentoring scheme gives a group of BAME colleagues the chance to reflect on where they are, where they want to be and how they can get there.
"This scheme is not just about the individuals, but about how our fantastic staff can work together and continue to improve outcomes for children, young people and families across the UK."
Jaipreet Kaur, senior philanthropy executive at Action for Children, will take part in the scheme and be mentored by Justina Omotayo, business development manager at the law firm Slaughter and May.
"As someone from a BAME background I really wanted to be part of the mentoring scheme as soon as I heard about the opportunity," said Kaur. "I’m most looking forward to building a relationship with someone who has maybe faced similar challenges to me because of their own background, who motivates and believes in me, challenges me and helps me to grow professionally."
The charity leaders body Acevo this week called on the voluntary sector to prioritise the issue of ethnic diversity among senior staff after its research showed that the proportion of charity chief executives from black and minority ethnic backgrounds had fallen over the past 10 years.