Board Apprentice


Senior Leaders Apprenticeship Programme to Diversify Boards.

Why Diversity ? 

Research by McKinsey found that companies who were more gender diverse were 15% more likely to outperform their peers. In that same study they looked at ethnicity, and found that companies who were more ethnically diverse were 35% more likely to outperform their peers.

When you surround yourself with people who are not like you, who talk differently, who think differently, who experience life differently what happens is the IQ of the group becomes stronger and the opportunities to find those nuggets of innovation become greater for you.

The pipeline of board directors today lacks diversity. Board positions can be closed off to people who do not find themselves in the ‘right’ candidate pools, who are not identified by gatekeepers or who simply lack board experience. Diverse talent is out there but the opportunity is not. Board Apprentice was created to bridge this gap.

Greater Manchester has an acute shortage of people of African descent in senior leadership positions who can influence policy and decision making which has resulted in persistent racial inequalities that are negatively impacting life chances.


What We Do

BURN CIC has partnered with Board Apprentice. The Board Apprentice programme seeks to widen the pool of board-ready talent by identifying and placing high-calibre, diverse professionals as ‘board apprentices’ on boards for one year, allowing them to gain first-hand experience through observation of the workings and dynamics of a board. These senior leader apprentices emerge with the practical experience and understanding necessary to further qualify them to take on board roles.

Board apprentices act as observers, but commit all the time necessary to fulfil the duties of an appointed board member. They receive board packs, attend board and committee meetings, as well as general meetings during the year. They are not appointed as a director and they fund their own expenses.

Proven Success Model

Many candidates, from around the world, have now taken up a ‘board apprenticeship’. To support this, there are a wide variety of host boards: ranging from major listed companies to higher education establishments, from investment trusts to charities, and everything in between.

Over 50% of board apprentices become board members within a year of their apprenticeship. The apprentices gain more self-confidence in applying for board positions. Furthermore, they develop their network with existing board members and increase their understanding of what it takes to be a board member.

Corporate members are successfully using Board Apprentice for talent retention and development in addition to being part of a practical solution to diversity and inclusion challenges.

Board Room

Become an apprentice

It costs £1500 to participate on this 12 month board development programme which has been designed to support career advancement onto senior decision-making boards.  Summary of the Programme: –

  • Be appointed to a board as an apprentice for a full financial year with a private companies, state-owned enterprises, public sector bodies, higher-education institutions, NGOs and local and regional governments.. Generally 4+ board meetings but can be as many as 12
  • Access to corporate governance webinar sessions during the year to fill knowledge and skills gaps.
  • Have access to various professional Non Executive Director (NED) training (this can be from accountancy firms/law firms/associations etc)
  • Could be eligible for CPD
  • Receive a certificate at the end of the year confirming details of the apprenticeship
  • Become a BA alumni member
  • Join the list of BA finalists

For further information please email We look forward to working with you!

Become a host board

We’re looking for host boards that recognise the need for diversity in the boardroom and want to be part of developing a wider pool of candidates for board-level positions. Becoming a host board comes at no cost.

Taking part in developing new board members can improve succession planning and serve as a tool for attracting and retaining talent. For further information please email

Become a corporate member

Corporate members use the programme for talent development and retention. They put forward their diverse talent as board apprentices against a fixed fee on placement. For further information please email