The John Smith Centre is delighted to have the backing of leading Scots for its Minority Ethnic Emerging Leaders Programme.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the programme will provide 50 high quality nine month internship opportunities for young Scots with NGOs and public sector organisations across Scotland. Host organisations include Shelter, Save the Children, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and British Red Cross.

With minority ethnic Scots under-represented across so much of Scotland’s public life, a few well known faces offered their support for the programme and to encourage those aged 18 to 29 to apply.

Atta Yaqub, Actor, Community Development worker said:

“The Emerging Leaders Programme is a brilliant opportunity to develop your skills and understanding of the public sector. Organisations have offered placements and are therefore committed to supporting young people from diverse backgrounds to become leaders. I would encourage all to consider, apply and take full advantage, as these opportunities will be hugely beneficial not only now, but also in your future career prospects.”

Scotland’s newest MP Anum Qaiser-Javed MP proudly backed the scheme, which was first announced in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government in September 2020: She said:

It is our collective responsibility to break down structural barriers which hinder ethnic minority Scots from entering public service and politics. This is critical in order to create a fairer, progressive and representative Scotland. I’m delighted to back this programme run by the John Smith Centre which is a crucial stepping stone in achieving a more diverse future for Scotland.”

Fatima Joji, Equalities activist and campaigner added:

This is a welcome and proactive equalities initiative, and I am delighted to see that the John Smith Centre is demonstrating a commitment to removing barriers and improving diversity through the creation of opportunities for underrepresented groups. There is no shortage of talent and leadership abilities amongst minority ethnic people in Scotland but sadly, institutional barriers exist which can be discriminatory in nature. We have seen research that shows we can achieve better problem solving, policy and decision-making outcomes if we have diverse organisations and committees involved. An initiative like this has the potential to contribute to efforts to ensure we build a Scotland that utilises its diverse talent and leaves no one behind. I look forward to seeing the results of this programme and I would like to wish all the applicants the best of luck.” 

Aamer Anwar, activist and lawyer and former rector of Glasgow University concluded:

This is a tremendous opportunity for young BAME people from across Scotland to break down barriers, develop leadership & representation which is lacking in public life.”

Applications are open until 19 July 2021 and you can apply here.