Third year for Kinneir Dufort’s funded internships for ethnically diverse design students

May 18, 2023

Bristol product development consultancy Kinneir Dufort’s pioneering ethnic diversity excellence programme is returning for a third year.

Introduced to tackle the visible lack of diversity within the UK design industry, the scheme offers an opportunity for three students from minority ethnic and heritage communities entering their third year of university to take part in a funded eight-week internship offering an immersive opportunity to learn and develop within an industry environment.

It is supported by an industry-wide ethnic diversity excellence (EDE) council, with distinguished members of minoritised ethnic backgrounds from chemical and consumer goods giants AstraZeneca, Unilever and Reckitt, beauty products group No7 Company, and Bristol-based innovators vertical farming business Lettus Grow and medical devices firm FluoretiQ. 

Pictured above, Kinneir Dufort EDE 2021 alumni. From left: Jun Xuan Goh, Zahrah Thomas and Nicole Wan

The successful applicants will also take part in school outreach programmes to help increase awareness of the design sector to help boost diversity in future generations of designers.

Along with eight weeks of hands-on experience, mentoring and advice, the individuals will receive a £2,000 sponsorship along with £1,000 travel and accommodation expenses.

The driving force behind the programme, Kinneir Dufort head of portfolio management Sunny Panesar, is driven by the lack of ethnic diversity in the product development industry and the need for change.

Sunny said: “Having often been the only person of colour in the room throughout my career, the lack of ethnic diversity is striking. If we’re truly going to design a better world, we need to reflect the people we’re designing for.

“I understand how important it is for ethnic minority students to have this opportunity, firstly to make them aware of this incredible industry as a career option and then to help them overcome complex systemic barriers holding them back when trying to break into industry. 

“Our goal is to level-up and give minoritised ethnic students an equal playing field.”

He said the firm, one of the UK’s leading innovation and design consultancies with a roster of global blue-chip clients, wanted to offer interns a high-quality experience that was immersive and potentially life-changing – they will learn and develop within an exciting and unique environment with external mentoring from industry experts.

“The past two years have been a resounding success for Kinneir Dufort,” he added.

“We have taken on full-time employees from the scheme and have a seen a vast improvement in all areas of diversity throughout the team.

“This year we’re excited to launch the programme again and encourage students from around the UK to watch our webinar and submit their applications.”

To learn more about the scheme, which is open to all UK universities, click here.

Founded in 1977, Kinneir Dufort has expertise including in strategy & innovation, product, digital and packaging design, usability and human factors, engineering, prototyping and electronics & software.

Over the years it has worked on such iconic designs as the UK’s first pocket cellphone and the original washing machine detergent ball. Its clients have included Roche, Unilever, Shell, Smith & Nephew, Coca-Cola and Mars with the majority of its earnings coming from exports.

Last December it was acquired by US-headquartered SteriPack – the fourth change of ownership since it was founded by Ross Kinneir and Francis Dufort.

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