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10,000 Black Interns: Continuing to encourage diversity through internships

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For another summer, at Kaplan we welcomed a group of inspiring and ambitious young interns as part of the 10,000 Black Interns programme (now 10,000 Interns Foundation).

As a business, several departments came together to provide an insight into many areas that could be beneficial to the interns when seeking a job in the future. Some of these areas included our Customer Service teams, the Marketing department, and our Learning and Curriculum departments - to gain an idea of how a business operates behind the scenes.

What is the 10K Black Interns programme?

10,000 Black Interns was founded in 2020 by Wol Kolade, Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, Michael Barrington-Hibbert and Jonathan Sorrel in response to the underrepresentation of Black talent in their industries. Initially, they planned to place 100 Black students and graduates in internship positions within Investment Management.

However, their goals grew, leading to the new 10,000 Black Interns mission. The programme works to offer 2,000 paid internships each year for five years across many sectors.

Introduction to the interns

We caught up with the six interns to gain an insight into their experience working at Kaplan, and their views on equality and diversity in the workplace.

Ethan Lee-Akinya

“I have just finished my first year studying Arts and Sciences at UCL. Although I am quite early into my education and career, I went out of my way this year to look for various career development experiences to learn more about what I want my future to look like.

A friend of mine recommended the 10K BI programme to me, so I signed up and now here I am!”

Imran Kamara

“For my A-Levels, I studied Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. However, I decided that I don't want to continue my career in the science industry, therefore I took a gap year.

Throughout my gap year, I had various roles in the NHS and the passport office. I decided to start university and study Economics but quickly realised that the particular institution wasn’t for me.

Now, starting in September, I will be joining JP Morgan as a degree apprentice in financial services. I learnt that you need to have work experience to make it in the finance industry, so I quickly found myself searching for internships and came across the 10K BI programme.”

Kamille Kansci

“I am currently a medical student entering my final year of the degree, so next year I’ll begin working as a foundation Doctor.

Prior to this, I followed the standard route of studying my A-Levels. I was really keen to do an internship as it isn’t necessarily something that is advertised within my field. As a medical student, I’m not necessarily exposed to other career pathways as it’s assumed that we will go on to do this vocation. Even though I do think that this will be the case for me, I thought it was important to explore career options.

I was keen to develop existing skills and build a professional presence on LinkedIn, as well as network with other professionals. I first heard about the 10K BI programme last year when a friend of mine took part. So, this year I was really keen to do an internship.”

Lynn Kiket

“I’m close to finishing my degree in Chemistry at King’s College in London. After the internship, I will be joining KPMG to complete my ACA qualification.”

Sebastian Nnorom

“I have just completed my PhD in Petroleum Geoscience and the University of Manchester in January 2022.

Afterwards, I took an interest in becoming a Data Analyst, owing to the fact that I love working with numbers and my research background involved a lot of data analysis. Since then, I have been honing my data skills and job hunting before a friend told me about the 10K BI programme being a good way to gain some UK work experience.”

Tanatswa Simbanegavi

“I am a Zimbabwean-South African international student in my last year of Accounting and Finance at the University of Glasgow.

I applied for the 10K BI programme hoping to apply my experience and knowledge to an organisation while developing the skills and information that I gained at university.”

The internship

Skills and experience

Through our apprenticeships and courses, we work to ensure that all of our learners gain valuable skills that they can use going forward in their career. And our interns were no different.

Tanatswa highlighted some of the skills that have been developed:

“The experience has been tremendously valuable to me, and it provided me with a fantastic opportunity to enhance my skills. I believe that three skills I’ve had the opportunity to improve are communication and teamwork, writing, and my excel proficiency.

The interns were enrolled onto an Excel course to help enhance our Excel competence. The course, as well as being assigned projects relating to the course information, has provided me with outstanding Excel abilities that I’ll use in the future.”


Sebastian and Lynn expressed more of a focus on the networking opportunities.

“I have developed my communication, customer service, networking and team-working skills through shadowing people in the business. I believe that I have increased my network and made new friends, especially with my co-interns. In addition, the internship has opened my eyes to things such as working professionally and apprenticeships,” Sebastian explained.

Speech marks

“I have really been able to expand my network, and my mentor and senior members of staff have provided me with insightful career advice.”


Progression and goals

In terms of longer-term goals and progression, Imran spoke to us about how the internship will benefit his future:

“I have fundamentally learned how to enhance my personal skills, such as time management and public speaking, which will enable me to succeed in whichever area I decide to continue in. In addition, I know how to navigate myself through personal branding, and I have been prepared to be fully equipped with the right skills for my next job.”


Kamille noted that, “in terms of career, progression, goals, and the ability to build my professional skills, I think the internship highlighted to me the numerous different types of career paths that are available outside of medicine. I’ve been able to interact with a range of different individuals, some of which are international students which will be a great start to building an international network, especially if I decide to work elsewhere or even travel!”

Equality and diversity in the workplace - from the interns’ perspectives

Of course, the importance of the 10K Black Interns initiative is when encouraging equality and diversity across all industries. We spoke with the interns about their views of the programme - both for the working world as a whole, and Kaplan as a business.

Speech marks

“I have heard a lot of success stories from past participants who successfully gained full-time employment after their work experience. So, I see it as an excellent initiative that should be embraced to promote EDI.”

Tanatswa perfectly explained the importance of the 10K Black Intern programme and how this can help promote diversity in the workplace, and for learners studying with Kaplan:

“In terms of its student population, Kaplan falls somewhat short of the HESA numbers in terms of black students - this is a problem that the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team has communicated.

However, for Kaplan to be able to encourage diversity, the workplace and organisation must also reflect their desired learner and client population. Therefore, programmes like the 10K BI are significant because they serve to eliminate underrepresentation by generating and encouraging minority groups to participate in debate and activities that help to address this cause.”

Lynn stressed this cause by explaining how after discovering the statistics of black learners at Kaplan, the group were able to think critically and feedback why they believed that this was the case. They also offered tips and advice on how to reach marginalised groups to educate them about new opportunities, such as apprenticeships.

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“I firmly believe that it is imperative to have people from different backgrounds to allow for a range of approaches and perspectives when dealing with a challenge.”

And finally, Kamille mentioned how important the 10K Black Internship programme is for people like her:

“It gave an individual like me, who didn’t really have an understanding of internships or where to start, a chance to be with a company such as Kaplan and learn more about potential career prospects.

I was able to network and interact with other black individuals from completely different backgrounds. The programme allows black individuals to widen their career prospects, and provides them with a leg up in the work space that they probably wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else.”


Speech marks

“To have been part of a project at Kaplan to help increase the numbers of black people in industries such as accounting and finance is not only exciting, but vital. The only way for change to happen is to have black people in these sectors to help have a positive impact on industries.”

Interested in an internship?

At Kaplan, we are happy to take part in this initiative which can help young talent find career opportunities and experience the working world.

The quest to open doors for 10,000 Black students and graduates is still ongoing. If you’re interested in this initiative, and the industries that you can go into, you can find more information via the 10,000 Black Interns website.

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