Former UK prime minister David Cameron backs internships for black students

The 10,000 Black Interns project launches on Tuesday

Former British prime minister David Cameron delivers the keynote address during the World Travel and Tourism Conference in Bangkok on April 26, 2017.
Cameron condemned Donald Trump's attempts to ban people from six Muslim countries from travelling to the United States, saying the policy "played into the hands" of extremists while alienating Muslim moderates and allies. / AFP PHOTO / LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA

Former UK prime minister David Cameron and other public figures have backed an initiative to increase the number of internships open only to black applicants in finance, law and other sectors.

The 10,000 Black Interns project, which is being launched on Tuesday, is based on a smaller programme that provided similar internships in fund management.

Organisers said they received support from employers in accountancy, education, finance, law, marketing and recruitment.

"This initiative will help build a more inclusive economy that works for everyone," Mr Cameron said.

The programme also received backing from former Labour Party politicians and the Confederation of British Industry.

Internships restricted to black applicants are rare in Britain.

Diversity programmes in Britain's public sector are usually open to Asian and other minority ethnicity applicants, and sometimes to white applicants from poorer backgrounds.

Unadjusted figures from Britain's Office for National Statistics showed that in 2018, black employees on average earned 9 per cent less an hour than white British workers, while those of Chinese and Indian heritage earned 31 and 12 per cent more.

Black employees typically earned more than those with Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage.

These gaps narrowed but generally did not disappear when the figures were adjusted for workers' level of education, age, type of work and other factors.

A 7 per cent shortfall remained for British-born black employees compared with white workers.

In the most recent census in 2011, 3.3 per cent of the population in England and Wales identified as black.