It’s well known the tech industry needs to do more in the pursuit of creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. This needs to happen through incremental, systemic change. Across the South West, organisations are stepping up to initiate this shift. One of the present examples includes Kinneir Dufort’s (KD) programme. 

KD is running its Ethnic Diversity Excellence Programme (EDE) for the third year running. The scheme seeks to tackle the visible lack of diversity within the UK design industry. EDE is an opportunity for three students from minority ethnic and heritage communities entering their third year of university to take part in a funded 8-week internship. 

Applications close on 30th June 2023, so if you know someone who would be a great fit for the role, point them in the right direction. Or if you’re interested yourself, get applying now! 

Accessible internships

Supported by an industry-wide EDE Council, with distinguished council members of minoritised ethnic backgrounds from 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 8 weeks of hands-on experience, mentoring and advice, the individuals will receive a £2,000 sponsorship along with £1,000 travel and accommodation expenses. This opportunity is open to all universities in the UK.

The driving force behind the programme, Sunny Panesar, Head of Portfolio Management at KD, is driven by the lack of ethnic diversity in the product development industry, and the need for change. Sunny says: “Having often been the only person of colour in the room throughout my career, the lack of ethnic diversity is striking, 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, firstly 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. Our goal is to level-up and give minoritised ethnic students an equal playing field. 

“We want to offer interns a high-quality experience which is immersive and potentially life-changing; they will learn and develop within an exciting and unique environment with external mentoring from industry experts.”

Kinneir Dufort believe that they, and the wider innovation, design and product development industry need to do more to mirror the diversity of who we are designing for within the UK, and beyond.

To learn more about the application criteria, how to apply and the deadline, please read more here. If you would still like to learn more and see if this programme is for you, you can watch the recorded live Q&A with the EDE Council.