Bristol-based product development consultancy Kinneir Dufort is launching a new internship programme for students from ethnic minority communities.
The six-month Ethnic Diversity Excellence Programme will be opening to undergraduates and post-graduates on Monday 7 June, with a free online Q&A for candidates. Students must be studying engineering, innovation and product design, and must be finishing their courses in summer 2022.
Led by Kinneir Dufort’s head of portfolio management, Sunny Panesar, the fully-funded programme aims to address the lack of ethnic diversity within the product design industry. Placements will begin in September, with applicants selected based on the strength of plans for their final year projects and alignment with the programme’s values.
Interns will be supported with knowledge and skills including CV writing, networking, job applications and asking about diversity in interviews. Each intern will receive £2000 in addition to mentoring by KD and further development opportunities, plus up to £1000 for travel and accommodation expenses.
Panesar said that the aim is to help ethnic minority students to overcome complex systematic barriers at the beginning of their careers, such as a lack of existing networks, funds for commuting or relocation and feelings of marginalisation.
The scheme has been developed with input from its council members — industry experts from ethnic minority backgrounds — and students from ten universities.
President of Bristol University’s Black Engineers Society, Eileen Atieno, PhD Advanced Composites and MEng Aerospace Engineering, is providing input to the scheme which she described as very unique to industry.
“It is a very important initiative as statistically, black and minority ethnic students are severely underrepresented within engineering and face a lot of barriers to get into the industry in comparison to other students,” she said. “Representation matters. Students should apply because they’ll get hands-on experience with top industry designers who in turn will push them to thrive in the industry.
“As a black woman who’s navigated an undergraduate engineering degree, where I was the sole black student, I understand the difficulties and challenges one can be faced with. The microaggressions and shock of my presence within the engineering industry is something that’s been difficult to navigate.”
Candidates will be required to submit a CV and short video application by Wednesday 30 June. Successful interns will be announced by Friday 6 August. Students can find further details here.