By Angela Green
Sodexo is welcoming 24 interns across its UK business as part of the 10,000 Black Interns Programme. The 10,000 Black Interns programme is a paid opportunity that provides valuable experience to an often under-represented group of talent.
Over a six-week period, the interns will be given the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the Sodexo workplace by working with teams from HR, technology, and finance, as well as different areas of Sodexo, including its corporate services and schools & universities businesses.
Fifteen of the 24 interns begin the programme in May and June, while the remaining interns will join the organisation throughout the year. Interns will be encouraged to document their experiences on social media and through Sodexo’s internal communication networks throughout the programme, enabling Sodexo colleagues to follow their progress.
Mercianne Makitata, who has joined the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team at Sodexo said: “So far, my experience at Sodexo has been amazing. I am learning a lot, not just about the company but also about myself. When I first started the internship, I had a lot of doubts about how it would compare to other internships I’ve done before.
“In the past, I’ve had internships where I felt unwelcomed to the company, but that is not the case with Sodexo. Since I started the internship, I have been building the confidence that I’ve always wanted. What makes me happiest is the encouragement and support I receive from my colleagues. They involve me in most things and my opinion matters to them. I feel important, and I am eager to learn as much as I can during my internship at Sodexo.”
Sodexo has long been committed to promoting equitable opportunities and creating an inclusive working environment for all its colleagues. In 2021, it was the first company in the hospitality and FM sector to voluntarily publish its ethnicity pay gap data for 2020 and has continued to do so annually. As part of its diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, Sodexo has made a commitment to increase ethnicity representation in management senior leadership positions to reflect the ethnic make-up of the UK labour market.
Raj Jones, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Sodexo UK & Ireland said of the programme: “We have an unwavering commitment to promoting equal opportunities, valuing diversity, and creating an inclusive working environment and are delighted to be participating in the 10,000 Black Interns Programme.”
The 10,000 Interns Foundation’s mission is to champion underrepresented talent. With their growing series of programmes, the team connect students and graduates with paid internship opportunities in over 35 UK sectors.
Beginning as 100 Black Interns, the programme was developed in early 2020 to address the racial gap in Investment Management leadership positions. With support from multiple industries, it quickly grew to become 10,000 Black Interns. In 2022, 10,000 Able Interns was launched to support disabled talent with similar internship opportunities.
With the data and stories from the programmes, The 10,000 Interns Foundation advocates for change that embeds inclusivity in UK work culture. The team speak to those in the highest positions of authority, to create change and opportunity for those most underrepresented.