Board Apprentice gives Boards a tool to address the pipeline of diversifying talent

Board Apprentice gives Boards a tool to address the pipeline of diversifying talent

The launch of The Davies Summary Report (the final part of The Davies Review – Women on Boards) on Thursday 29th October 2015 will undoubtedly celebrate the UK achieving the initial 25% target for Women on the Boards of FTSE 100 companies (doubling since 2009).
Furthermore, it will recommend areas of future priority. It is here where it must focus attention on the lack of diversity in the executive pipeline and the need to broaden diversity beyond gender (for instance to areas such social background, ethnicity, age – among others). The Davies Report should flag that the meeting of gender diversity targets in the UK has largely been achieved through Non-Executive Director appointments and the mix effect of less Executive Board positions. Diversity at the executive level remains woefully low (oscillating between 15 and 25 individuals over the last decade) and this must be remedied. In addition, targets for gender diversity will, in all probability, be extended to the FTSE 350.

The body of empirical evidence demonstrating the economic, social and financial benefits of diversity continues to grow.

Boards need a tool to help them address the perceived shortage of board-ready talent. Board Apprentice is a unique tool in the diversity toolkit and an elegantly simple idea: Boards show leadership and commitment to diversity by helping to train the directors of tomorrow by setting aside a seat for education.

Companies can use corporate membership of the scheme to develop top talent and plan for succession. Women and minorities see positive action being taken and role models beginning to be more visible. Host Boards use the hosting experience to increase their focus on the benefits of diversity of thought.


Anthea Simmons, Chair of Board Apprentice UK, says:

“There are many factors in the dearth of women and minorities on UK Boards. Culture, connections and confidence are barriers. Competence and commitment are not. Research has also shown that mentoring is key to the successful introduction of minorities to the board room. The Board Apprentice programme builds a bridge between established incumbents from traditional circles and new, diversifying talent: a win/win for all stakeholders. We call on companies and Government to adopt the Board Apprentice programme to help to develop and deepen the pool of board-ready talent and improve access to the board room.”

Charlotte Valeur, the founder of Board Apprentice, will be at the launch of The Davies Summary Report at KPMG on Thursday 29th October 2015 as will Anthea Simmons, Chair of the UK operation and Dowshan Humzah, Board Apprentice Executive Ambassador.



Notes to editors:

  1. Board Apprentice is a global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to increasing diversity on boards by widening the pool of board-ready candidates. Board Apprentice recognises diversity as a business and organisational imperative to: improve decision-making, reflect our increasingly dynamic, competitive and changing markets and result in better results (be they financial or customer).
  2. The Board Apprentice programme provides a practical and powerful way to develop and nurture emerging and senior talent and to signal a commitment to diversity and inclusion. It gives boards worldwide the opportunity to increase merit-based diversity and provide ‘access to opportunity’. In addition, it seeks to break the closed loop of: “You can’t be on a board, unless you are on a board.”
  3. Board Apprentice achieves this by being open to all suitable diversifying individuals and allows them to take part in a one year ‘educational placement’ (alongside their existing role) to gain practical insight into the operations and dynamics of a board. High-calibre apprentices are identified and interviewed by a selection committee to assess their suitability as a future Non-Executive Director (NED) before being assigned to a host board.
  4. Board Apprentice now has ‘chapters’ in the UK, Guernsey, Jersey, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, Denmark and Switzerland. It is in talks to set up in USA, Norway, Japan and South Africa. All procedures and legal agreements/documentation are in place.
  5. Board Apprentice formally launched in the UK at the House of Lords on 2nd July 2015. Currently, Board Apprentice UK has placed 11 apprentices purely on UK listed boards with a further 13 on non UK or private companies. There are 30+ in the pool of available candidates.
  6. Board Apprentice views diversity in its widest sense to encompass gender, ethnicity, culture, age, disability, social background, sexual orientation, personality, thought, experience and skill set – among others.

Media relations and for further information, please contact:


Charlotte Valeur

CEO, Board Apprentice

E: [email protected]


Anthea Simmons

Chair, Board Apprentice UK

E: [email protected]

M: +44 (0)7798 573 432


Dowshan Humzah

Executive Ambassador, Board Apprentice

E: [email protected]