08 Jul Bold initiative gives UK Boards access to diverse and often overlooked talent
With the UK’s boardrooms typically reserved for those in traditional circles, a new board-level education seeks to increase diversity and open access to often overlooked talent pools. Board Apprentice, a global not-for-profit organisation, offers boards access to equally able individuals from outside these circles or from different backgrounds who are rarely considered for a place at the board table.
This initiative, committed to widening the pool of board-ready talent, is open to all suitable individuals and allows them to take part in a one year educational placement 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. Apprentices receive mentoring and real-time learning that will equip them with the experience required for qualification for future board roles.
Organisations that sign up as corporate members of Board Apprentice can benefit by using the scheme to attract, develop and retain their future senior stars and board directors. It also can be used in support of the organisation’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy.
This meets the needs of many boards who find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place: on the one hand they feel obliged to use accepted recruitment methods and traditional board profiles (which tend to limit diversity); whilst, on the other hand, they are under pressure to demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion. This pressure comes from all directions: the organisations themselves, Government, shareholders, society and the growing body of empirical evidence that correlates diversity with improved financial performance.
Board Apprentice is a simple, effective way to ease this pressure by closing the gap between theory and practice, thus removing the obstacles to inclusion. Equally, it creates a bridge between diverse or diversifying individuals and boards offering the opportunity for both sides to learn and benefit.
Board Apprentice calls on CEOs, Chairs and board directors to demonstrate leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion by signing up as corporate members and becoming host boards to help develop the next generation of board-ready talent.
Anthea Simmons, CEO of Board Apprentice UK, says:
“We have had the debate regarding board level diversity. We have all seen the data supporting the benefits of diversity. So what do we do now? We need an easily-implemented, scalable solution. Now we have one. Board Apprentice creates a new pipeline of high-calibre, diversifying, board-ready talent and empowers boards in two ways. Firstly, it allows boards to demonstrate true leadership in developing talent from wherever it is to be found; and secondly, in doing so, to reap the financial, economic and societal benefits – the prize of true, merit-based diversity.”
Board Apprentice UK is being formally launched today (2nd July 2015) at a reception at the House of Lords generously hosted by Baroness Verma and Inspire, a global business network for senior board-level women.
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. Founded in 2014 by Charlotte Valeur, an independent Non-Executive Director and governance specialist, the programme currently operates in Jersey, Guernsey, Cayman Islands, Switzerland and the UK.
2. 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.
Media relations contacts:
CEO, Board Apprentice UK
M: +44 (0)7798 573 432
Executive Ambassador, Board Apprentice
M: +44 (0)7973 600 046