10,000 Black Interns Programme – 2022

Posted by: elliejullens - Posted on:

Across June and July, the NHS Leadership Academy South West and the South West Talent team have hosted two wonderful interns. Both joined us through the 10,000 Black Interns Programme. 10,000 Black Interns seeks to offer 2,000 internships each year for five consecutive years. The programme’s purpose is:



We asked Thara and Priscilla to reflect on their experience with the teams, what they have learnt and why they joined the programme. Read about their experiences below:

Non-urgent advice: Thara’s Experience…

Thara Lawal (pronouns: She/Her)

Hello all! My name is Thara and I’m a current masters student at the University of Bristol studying Experimental Psychology. I am deeply passionate about mental health, personal development and organisational wellbeing. I interned within the South-West Leadership Academy for six weeks – an opportunity created through the 10,000 Black Interns Programme, which strives to improve the prospects of young black people across the UK. I sought out this experience hoping to gain more experience, develop my professional skillset and further solidify my interest in pursuing an occupational psychology-based career.

To be frank, I had I had no idea of what to expect prior to the start of my internship, as I’d never heard of the SWLA and did not know much about the structure or inner workings of the political beast of an ecosystem that we know to be the NHS. As I write this in the last few days of my internship, I can wholeheartedly say that I still have not managed to wrap my head around the workings of the NHS! I can also happily say that I did achieve the aims I had when originally seeking out an internship. I learned a lot about different leadership development resources; what they entail, how they might be run and what types there are. I learned more about workplace etiquette and how to communicate professionally without completely changing your personality. I also ended the internship even more confident in striving towards becoming an occupational psychologist.

These are a few examples, and I am grateful to have learned these things; it means I achieved those practical goals that I set out for myself. However, one of the other things I learned -which was not anticipated- was what I want to look for in terms of work environment and team going forward. As someone interested in the concepts of wellbeing and work culture, it feels ironic that I did not have those things in the forefront of my mind when thinking about what I wanted to learn on a personal level from this internship. However, I want to highlight how supported I felt by everyone in my team throughout the experience, and the impact I felt from being in a psychologically safe space. I really appreciated having an open, encouraging, collaborative and caring work environment, as this is not reflective of all my past internship/work experiences. I have learned that this is something I consider as an influential priority in what I’ll be looking for in a future organisation or team. I’d like to give a big thank you to each and every person I met, but a special shout out to Nora Latapi-Dean, Christina Quinn and Connie Cheung in regard to this!

To other NHS organisations considering getting involved with the 10,000 Black Interns scheme, I’d absolutely say go for it. To any organisations that had not previously considered getting involved, I’d also say again, absolutely go for it! Six short weeks can have a substantial impact on someone like myself; at the start of their careers and hoping to get their foot in the door somewhere but not necessarily knowing where to begin. We live in a society where many face institutional disadvantage due to factors that are out of their control, and I believe we can all play a part in helping to alleviate that reality. Thank you so much to 10,000 Black Interns. The work you do to empower young black students across the UK is so needed and valuable. 

Non-urgent advice: Priscilla’s Experience…

Priscilla Asare (pronouns: She/Her)

I am Priscilla; a 3rd year dental student who also has an interest in the processes involved in making employees attractive for both selection and retention in organisations and ultimately helping them keep a fulfilling career. I embarked on a 6-week internship with the South-West Talent Team; something which was made possible by the #10000BlackInterns Programme; an initiative which seeks to broaden the career prospects and horizons of young Black people by offering internships across a wide range of industries.

I am so pleased to have had supportive managers who genuinely cared about my progress in Talent Management (and beyond) and what I wanted to achieve from my time here. They even went the extra mile to connect me with a Dr. who has undergone Clinical Fellowship, who I shadowed in several SW Dental Chairs’ meetings among other things.

It has been exciting learning about Scope for Growth- career conversations which help people evaluate their current position and how they can progress.  I have participated in discussions on how to move the project from the pilot stage into implementation and hopefully these career conversations may go towards supporting the plan for a 19% BAME Board membership by 2025 and help to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging. When it comes to Widening Participation and Inclusion in NHS roles, I think introducing work experience/apprenticeships at an earlier level for example from Year 9, will expose children to the roles in healthcare and help them make informed decisions in the future. Another interesting part of my internship has been learning about Reverse & Reciprocal mentoring- an opportunity for staff to mentor one another and gain better insight into the perspectives of underrepresented colleagues. As a dental student, having the opportunity to shadow a Clinical Fellow has given me a deeper understanding of how NHS dentistry works for example the National NHS Dental Contract and barriers to access that some patients face.

One of the things I’m most proud of is leading the SW Talent Website Project. Despite the constraints that come with working virtually, we have been able to finalise a robust content structure which is being built now and hopefully, we get to see some online Talent representation for the SW after my internship. I also supported the Talent Film Project, completed 7 trainings and enrolled in 4 Edward Jenner Courses. One thing I admire about the work culture here is the support colleagues provided one another, especially with the structural change that is the NHS England merger from the 3 previous organisations and reassuring people about job security among other worries that they may rightfully have.

It would have been even better if my internship was in person as I thrive better when there’s physical interaction and I believe that some projects would have ran more efficiently if I had face-to-face meetings with my team.

I would highly encourage other NHS organisations to get involved with the #10KBI Initiative, as it is a brilliant way to expose young talented Black people to roles in the NHS and give them a framing device with which to impress interviewers when applying for NHS roles in the future, This will increase the organisation’s human capital, which I believe will ultimately lead to improved patient care.

I have connected with over 30 people and have built meaningful long-term relationships. A big thank you to the entire SW Team for the warm welcome and support throughout the internship. I believe this internship will have an indelible impact on my career trajectory.

LinkedIn: Scilla A.

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