Bristol-based product development consultancy Kinneir Dufort is calling for applications for its Ethnic Diversity Excellence (EDE) Programme.
The programme, which is aimed at tackling the visible lack of diversity within the UK design industry and is now in its third year, offers an opportunity for three students from minority ethnic and heritage communities entering their third year of university to take part in a funded eight-week internship.
Supported by the industry-wide EDE Council, made up of members of minoritised ethnic backgrounds from companies including AstraZeneca, LettUs Grow, No7 Company, FluoretiQ, Unilever and Reckitt, the programme offers three students in their final year an immersive opportunity to learn and develop within an industry environment. The successful applicants will also take part in school outreach programmes to help increase awareness of the design sector to help boost diversity in future generations of designers.
Along with eight weeks of hands-on experience, mentoring and advice, successful applicants will receive a £2,000 sponsorship, along with £1,000 for travel and accommodation expenses. The opportunity is open to students from any UK university.
The driving force behind the programme, Sunny Panesar, head of portfolio management at Kinneir Dufort, is motivated by the lack of ethnic diversity in the product-development industry and the need for change. ‘Having often been the only person of colour in the room throughout my career, the lack of ethnic diversity is striking,’ Panesar said. ‘If we’re truly going to design a better world, we need to reflect the people we’re designing for.
‘I understand how important it is for ethnic minority students to have this opportunity – first to make them aware of this incredible industry as a career option and then to help them overcome complex systemic barriers holding them back when trying to break into industry,’ he continued. ‘Our goal is to level-up and give minoritised ethnic students an equal playing field. We want to offer interns a high-quality experience that is immersive and potentially life-changing; they will learn and develop within an exciting and unique environment with external mentoring from industry experts.
‘The last two years [of the programme] have been a resounding success for KD,’ Panesar concluded. ‘We have taken on full-time employees from the scheme and have a seen a vast improvement in all areas of diversity throughout the team. This year, we’re excited to launch the programme again and encourage students from around the UK to watch our webinar and submit their applications.’
Kinneir Dufort believe that the company, along with the wider innovation, design and product development industry, needs to do more to mirror the diversity of who it I designing for, within the UK and beyond. The company’s management team is 50 per cent female and the broader team is now more than 40 per cent female.
The deadline for applications is 30 June. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by 14 July and the three successful candidates will be announced by 7 August for a September 2023 start.
Further details about the programme and how to apply can be found here.