The Sparks Programme | Inclusive Employers

The Sparks Programme

The Sparks Programme gives people from under-represented backgrounds the opportunity to kick-start a career in Inclusion & Diversity. Through the Programme, we will ignite the careers of the I&D pioneers of the future by providing professional training and certification, mentoring and networking opportunities. 

The application for our 2022 intake is now closed. Applications for our 2023 programme will open in April.

Read on to find out more about our sponsored Programme and how to get involved.

Why has the Sparks Programme been created?

This programme is an important part of our plans for 2022 and beyond. As you may know, in 2021 we published our anti-racism toolkit – a fantastic resource for employers to embed anti-racism in their strategy through to their operations, policy through to behaviours.

This year we are continuing and extending our anti-racism work by using our Inclusive Employers influence and resources to enhance the opportunities of a key group of individuals as we launch the Inclusive Employers Sparks Programme.

What is the Sparks Programme?

The Sparks Programme is a new initiative by Inclusive Employers for 2022.

Evidence shows that Black people can experience particular barriers in relation to accessing certain careers and this can sometimes be traced back to educational experiences. 

Our solution is Sparks Programme, a sponsored Programme that will give individuals from underrepresented backgrounds a unique opportunity to advance their knowledge and career. Our Sparks Programme Lead and I&D Consultant, Cheryl Carty, explains some of the barriers she faced as a Black woman in education and the workplace and why she is so proud to be leading this programme.

In the first year, we are inviting applications from those who are Black, are not qualified beyond A-Level and who are wanting to develop a career in Inclusion & Diversity.

As a team, we are incredibly excited about this initiative and can’t wait to meet talented people who are ready to meet their full potential. If you have any questions about applying for the Sparks Programme, please contact the Sparks team.

If you missed our Spark Programme Live Q&A on 10th February, you can watch a recording of it below. We recommend you watch this as it may answer any questions that you have about the Programme.

Benefits of the Sparks Programme

The Programme has been designed to give participants a life-changing opportunity by achieving a professional qualification, mentoring and network opportunities. Participants will boost their skills and confidence and gain a unique insight into a career in Inclusion & Diversity.

Successful applicants will have access to:

  • A free place on a Leadership and Management Degree programme to achieve a Level 6 Certificate in Inclusion
  • Support from an Inclusive Employers mentor
  • Networking and learning with others from the I&D industry
  • Free attendance at Inclusive Employers webinars
  • An opportunity to develop the knowledge needed to turn your passion for I&D into a career

The CMI Level 6 in Inclusion is a six-day course, in three sets of two consecutive days.

There is a time commitment of 58 hours over a 12 month period, comprising of Zoom classroom delivery plus attendance at Inclusive Employers webinars. In order to complete the required tasks and essays, you will also need to undertake your own research.

Who can apply for the Sparks Programme?

We have been inspired to launch the Sparks Programme by our own anti-racism programme and activity. The Programme aims to remove barriers from our own industry, Inclusion & Diversity, and in the first year, we are inviting applications from those who identify as being Black.

Our criteria for 2022:

You must be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following to qualify for this year’s Sparks Programme:

  • I identify as a Black person
  • I have experience in the workplace
  • I am educated to Level 5 (A-Levels, NVQs, BTEC) and not beyond
  • I have access to the internet and the IT needed to participate in the Programme
  • I am based in the UK

Find out more about how and why we have identified these criteria in our Sparks FAQs.

How to apply

The applications for our 2022 intake are now closed and the participants for this year are enrolled. Find out more about them and what motivated them to participate in the Sparks Programme 2022.

Once open for 2023, there will be two steps to get involved with the programme, which are listed below.

Step 1: 

Complete our application form (this includes an overview of your work experience and four questions).

Step 2: 

If shortlisted, you will be invited to an interview with the Sparks Programme team on Zoom/Teams .

Before you apply, please ensure that you meet the criteria and have read through our Sparks FAQs. If possible, please watch our Live Q&A webinar recording.

How else can I get involved?

If you have been inspired by the above and are a member of Inclusive Employers, we would love to hear from you. We are looking for individuals from Inclusive Employers member organisations to become a mentor to participants of the Sparks Programme, please get in touch if you’re interested.

If you are looking for a career in Inclusion & Diversity, we would still like to hear from you. Please visit our careers page for details of our current vacancies and to access our job packs. As a growing organisation, we will have vacancies available throughout the year so please check back regularly.