The partnership, which works to break open career opportunities for underserved communities, will be up against other retailers’ diversity and inclusion initiatives at the annual Drapers Awards on 16th November 2022.
Research from the Trade Union Congress showed that unemployment for ethnic minority groups rose twice as fast as white workers during the pandemic.
Through the free mentoring programme called The Pentland Collective, 18–30-year-olds, primarily from Black, Asian, minority ethnic and underserved communities, are matched with Pentland mentors. The first thirteen mentees found the programme highly beneficial, learning industry skills, building their confidence and growing their professional network.
For mentee Ayanna Sankara, “It’s given me an opportunity to be more ambitious about my goals and make me believe I can actually achieve them.”
Caroline Nankinga, D&I manager for Pentland Brands, shares how The Pentland Collective forms part of Pentland Brands’ broader commitment to building diverse communities and being an inclusive employer.
“The Pentland Collective was born out of a desire to make a real difference in a practical way because when it comes to diverse representation, better access is often the single most important factor. Access to understanding an industry, access to career possibilities, and access to supportive people who can share their career advice, and often, their well-established networks. That’s why we’re excited to have worked in partnership with The People. Not only has it given mentees the opportunity to explore their career aspirations, but it’s also given our mentors better insight into the challenges faced by the next generation of talented individuals from underrepresented backgrounds.”
Kian Bakhtiari, Founder of The People, shared why programmes such as this one are so important: “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. The Pentland Collective was developed to open access and opportunities for young people from underrepresented backgrounds. The mentoring programme, in partnership with Pentland Brands, has equipped mentees with the skills, confidence and network to achieve their full potential. Following the programme, three young mentees have walked into new roles. Meanwhile, many others have discovered new possibilities.”