Diversity: The Board Driven Solution


3 min read

by Board Apprentice: www.boardapprentice.com

Diversity is a hot topic and it’s no longer confined to gender; ethnicity is now attracting much-needed attention as are age and technology skills. There’s real pressure building on Board Directors. Governments are pressing their socio-economic agendas, empirical research shows improved returns from diversified boards and pressure is growing to identify the business leaders of tomorrow. What’s more, talk of quotas and legislation to force the pace and threats from investors to start voting against insufficiently diversified boards means we all  need to rise to the challenge.

But where are all these diversifying candidates who will help Boards to achieve diversity goals? And how do we break the closed of loop of “you can’t be on a board, unless you are on a board”, evidenced by the dearth of fresh faces in boardrooms worldwide?

Board Apprentice offers Boards a real opportunity to show true leadership and demonstrate that laws and negative pressure are not always necessary to move things forward. Set up as a not-for-profit organization, Board Apprentice, with the help of Boards, has the vision and a practical solution to increase diversity on Boards by widening the pool of board-ready candidates.

It’s a simple concept. By providing board experience to suitable individuals, Boards can help prepare companies for the future in one small step. If a nation’s largest listed companies each invited one Board Apprentice onto their boards for one year this would have a big impact on the range of candidates with listed company experience. If, on top of that, Boards of unlisted companies, public bodies and not for profit organizations also invited a Board Apprentice onto their boards, then a diverse talent pool would be created and the existing pool of NEDs would be dramatically enlarged and enriched in a short space of time.

So how does it work?

First of all, The Board embraces the concept and agrees to take an apprentice. We are already placing highly skilled individuals as Apprentices on listed Company Boards and our candidate list is growing all the time.

We have a selection procedure in place to ensure that individuals put forward as potential Board Apprentices have the necessary insight into Corporate Governance and the operation of a Board. They are of suitable experience and background to be able to become an NED after finalizing the Apprentice education.

The Board Apprentice will commit to the time necessary to fulfill the duties of an appointed board member effectively. They would receive and read board packs, attend board and committee meetings and share their views with the Board when invited to do so. They would attend General Meetings and also participate in board activities that take place outside of meetings.

Board Apprentices will sign a letter of appointment (which will include confidentiality and competition clauses) with the Board for a term of one year. They will also sign an agreement with Board Apprentice Ltd as will the Board accepting an Apprentice. The position will be unpaid and the Apprentice will fund his/her own expenses in connection with the education. They will not be appointed as a Director of the Company.

The board apprentice concept is one that can run indefinitely to help the right people move forward by obtaining board level experience. It can be used by your company to mentor and prepare suitable individuals within your organization and you can reference participation in Board Apprentice on your CSR and Diversity statements. It’s a win-win!

-  it is entirely apolitical

-  it widens the pool of board-ready individuals

-  it helps boards solve the problem of a shortage of  board-ready individuals

-  it helps nations to achieve the goals of board diversity

-  Board Apprentice offers a way of developing rising stars and future board members – perfect for succession planning

-  companies can add being part of the Board Apprentice programme to their CSR and Diversity Statements

-  boards can add having an apprentice to their Diversity Statements

Interested? Need more information?

Contact Board Apprentice via email info@boardapprentice.com


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