How does it work?
With input from boards and CEOs of companies, we are identifying appropriate candidates for Board Apprentice. We already have a pool of many highly-skilled individuals who are interested in becoming a board apprentice. There is currently a specific pressing issue with regard to increasing the number of women on the boards of listed companies. We expect that immediately following this will come pressure to focus on ethnic diversity as well. We also believe that boards of unlisted companies (pension funds, governmental institutions, housing associations etc.) will face pressure to become more diversified.
We have in place a selection procedure to ensure that individuals put forward as potential Board Apprentices have the necessary insight into corporate governance and the operation of a board and that they will be of suitable experience and background to be able to become a NED after finalizing the Apprentice education.
The Board Apprentice will commit to the time necessary to fulfill the duties of an appointed board member effectively. They would receive and read board packs, attend board and committee meetings and share their views with the board when invited to do so. They would attend General Meetings and also participate in board activities that take place outside of meetings.
Board Apprentices will sign a letter of appointment, which will include confidentiality and competition clauses, with the Board for a term of one year. The position will be unpaid and the Apprentice will fund his/her own expenses in connection with the education. They will not be appointed as a Director of the Company.
The Board Apprentices will have access to recognized Governance workshops alongside existing NEDs during their apprenticeship and they will have a contact person from Board Apprentice for pastoral care.
The board apprentice concept is one that can run indefinitely to help the right people move forwards by obtaining board level experience. It can be used by companies to mentor and prepare suitable individuals within their organisations.
All in all, the Board Apprentice concept is a win-win:
- It is entirely non-political;
- It widens the pool of board-ready individuals;
- It helps boards solve the problem of a shortage of board-ready Individuals;
- It helps national governments to achieve the goals of board diversity;
- Board Apprentice offers a way of mentoring rising stars and preparing future Board members;
- Companies can reference being part of the Board Apprentice programme to their CSR and Diversity Statements
- Boards can reference having an apprentice in their Diversity Statement;
- The Board Apprentice concept can be seen as a “Positive action” to help diversify Boards.
- There is no cost to the Board of having an apprentice.