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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Andrew Arthur

Paid internship scheme for West of England students from minority backgrounds returns

A scheme offering paid internship opportunities to students in the West of England from minority ethnic backgrounds has returned for its third year.

Financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown and Bafta-award winning television production company Plimsoll Productions are among 12 organisations that have signed up to participate in the Strive Internship Programme.

The initiative is aiming to offer work experience to 25 students living or studying in Bristol, Bath, North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire this year, which would take the total number of interns to have been on the programme to 100.

Read more: Interns secure paid placements with Bristol creative firms as part of inclusivity drive

The social mobility programme, coordinated by Hargreaves Lansdown and a steering group with members across The Mayor’s Office, Bristol City Council and the University of the West of England, will offer four-week placements from July.

West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris attended a launch event at the FTSE 100 firm’s headquarters in Bristol city centre, where he met alumni of the programme, including Oren Henry, who is now a graduate on HL’s graduate scheme, currently working in the financial advice project team.

Mr Norris told BusinessLive that despite current cost pressures on companies, it was “critically important” for schemes such as Strive to continue to be undertaken, in order to use the “currently untapped talent” within the region.

Mr Norris said: “You have got to have that pipeline, bringing people on at different stages. We have to use the talents of all our people, whatever their backgrounds or histories because if our region is going to thrive, not just nationally but globally, the people who do that most effectively, the regions that will be successful and the companies that will be successful, are the ones that use the talent of all people that are out there to the full.”

The regional mayor, who heads up the West of England Combined Authority, went on to say the scheme could have a “tangible” effect on inequality and described Hargreaves Lansdown, which is taking on seven Strive interns this year, as a “local company that cares about the local area”.

“[Schemes like these] are obviously important because the outcomes for people involved in them will be improved. But also, it is about raising hope and opportunity for others who are not yet sure where they want to go and the world is not always the fairest place.

“If people can tangibly see that there are paths to success, and they can see people like themselves being successful, that creates a virtuous circle, where we get a fair and more decent society. It is really, really significant.”

Other local organisations confirmed to take part in Strive this year, include Avon Fire and Rescue, publisher IntellectBooks, chamber of commerce Business West,and design agency Nomensa. Hargreaves Lansdown confirmed it was looking to build the list of firms taking part.

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