Bond calls for more NGOs to take on apprentices to help increase diversity in the sector

During National Apprenticeship Week, Bond is encouraging more international development organisations to take on apprentices and recruit entry-level staff from a diverse pool of talented young people.

With youth unemployment not predicted to return to pre-pandemic level in the coming years, young people, particularly from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds, look set to face significant hurdles in securing their first job. This is due to high levels of competition for entry-level jobs, demands for higher education qualifications, as well as significant work experience.

In October 2019, Bond announced its first ever apprenticeship partnership with Multiverse, previously WhiteHat, to help increase diversity across the sector and upskill existing employees. The partnership has helped get 57 apprentices into the NGO sector, and Multiverse has helped almost 200 people secure apprentices in the NGO sector more broadly, with the fastest growth coming in tech areas such as Data Analytics and Software Engineering.

Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development said:

“It is encouraging to hear how many Bond members have taken on apprentices since the launch of the Multiverse, previously WhiteHat, partnership less than 2 years ago. Entry-level roles at NGOs traditionally go to applicants with extensive higher education qualifications or from one type of socio-economic background. Apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity for NGOs to recruit a new generation of diverse and highly skilled talent. This is a crucial step an organisation can take to improve diversity across the sector.

Young people are facing even more challenges in securing their first job, so it is essential that NGOs consider apprenticeships as a viable option to provide young people with the skills and experience they need to enter the world of work.”

Dáre Soniran, Finance and Operations Executive at Able Child Africa, who secured an opportunity to upskill at her organisation through a Multiverse apprenticeship said:

“I’ve always wanted to work in the charity sector. Like many people, I chose a non-ideal degree and ended up in a job that didn’t give me the same joy I felt when I volunteered for charities. After many years of trying to get into the charity sector, I got a job with Able Child Africa. Thanks to the apprenticeship scheme, something I didn’t even know was a career development option, I have been given the chance to further progress in my career.

Learning is great when it’s fun and applicable, and that’s what the Multiverse data fellowship apprenticeship has been. I’ve been able to learn technical skills, as well as soft skills, such as communication and time management – skills you do not necessarily learn straight after leaving university but are essential for your working life.”

Karl Hankinson, CEO of Able Child Africa said:

“For most smaller NGOs in particular, resources are thin, and a large proportion of staff are young. The sector relies on developing young talent, yet it is often difficult to provide the support junior employees need to learn and develop in the job. Apprenticeships offer the chance to do this in a supportive way, where the employer can be sure the individual is receiving the support they need to build their skills.

The importance of diversity in terms of background, thought and experience has also never been more important in the sector. For too long, NGOs have been guilty of limiting progression routes into organisations only to young people who can afford to complete unpaid internships or who have followed certain paths. The apprenticeship scheme should facilitate the advancement of a more diverse workforce at a junior level, which should result in a more diverse workforce improving the incredible work that is being done.”

Euan Blair, Founder and CEO of Multiverse said:

“Apprenticeships are the ideal way for NGOs to build diverse pipelines of talented individuals with transformational skills in digital and tech. Like all organisations, NGOs face a critical need to develop a workforce that truly reflects the communities they serve. By looking beyond traditional university routes, apprenticeships open up access to a much more diverse group of people.

Apprenticeships also have a crucial role to play in helping NGOs cope with the challenges of digital transformation. Every company, organisation and government is facing the same challenge as the world moves increasingly online, and apprenticeships provide a clear advantage in helping organisations develop and equip their workforces with the skills they need.

Through apprenticeships, we can make sure the most talented people get to start and progress their careers in this critical sector, while making a positive impact on the world.”


Notes to editor

  1. In October 2019 Bond launched an apprenticeship scheme in partnership with tech start-up Multiverse with the aim of increasing diversity across the third sector.
  2. Multiverse is a tech startup on a mission to create a diverse group of future leaders. They are doing this by building an outstanding alternative to university through apprenticeships. Multiverse focuses on three core areas: giving employers a framework for measuring potential outside of academics and work experience through their platform; bringing incredible content from around the world into applied learning programmes; growing an apprentice community to enable young people to build social capital and strong professional networks.
  3. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  4. For further information please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]