Bond initiative to increase diversity in voluntary sector apprenticeships

The scheme is being run with the tech start-up WhiteHat and will also give existing charity staff the opportunity to learn new skills

Apprenticeships: diversity is the goal
Apprenticeships: diversity is the goal

A new initiative aims to increase diversity among young people who take up voluntary sector apprenticeships.

The scheme, which is being run by the international development network Bond and the tech start-up WhiteHat, will also give existing charity staff the opportunity to learn new skills.

There are concerns that many charities place too much emphasis on university degrees and volunteering experience when recruiting, which can favour candidates from wealthier backgrounds.

WhiteHat, a company that specialises in finding talented young people from diverse backgrounds, will match charities with apprentices from non-graduate backgrounds.

Stephanie Draper, chief executive of Bond, said the scheme would "bring in a new generation of diverse talent to the NGO sector".

She said: "Getting an entry-level role at an NGO can be very competitive and historically this has meant they have gone to people with extensive higher education or one type of socio-economic background.

"Over time this has led to a lack of diversity across the sector, so we’re delighted to be able to offer an alternative route into NGOs through apprenticeships."

Charities will fund placements from their contributions to the apprenticeship levy, which was introduced in 2017 for employers with pay bills of more than £3m a year.

The programme is therefore currently available only to large charities, but a spokesman for WhiteHat said it hoped to form a partnership with a corporate partner that would provide funding for smaller organisations to take part.

The scheme will initially place 15 to 20 existing charity staff on data analytics and business associate apprenticeships.

This will be extended to apprenticeships in digital marketing, project management, leadership and management, accounting and software engineering.

The initiative will also begin by matching 15 to 20 newly hired apprentices from diverse backgrounds with charities.

Interested charities do not have to belong to the Bond network to take part. However, only charities based in Greater London will initially be eligible.

A launch event will take place in London on 30 October.

Andrea Metcalf, deputy director of people and culture at ActionAid UK, said: "Our sector desperately needs an injection of diverse talent, and this programme promises that and more."

Euan Blair, co-founder and chief executive of WhiteHat, said, "It’s fantastic to see the NGO sector recognising the value in high-quality apprenticeships as an alternative to hiring university graduates."

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