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Accelerating towards a more inclusive workforce

Nurturing talent for the future.


In 2021, the employment rate of adults in the UK was 9 percentage points higher for people from a white background than for those from other ethnic groups. Our Multicultural Network set out to try to change that.

They decided to create an initiative that nurtured future talent. They wanted to help people from diverse backgrounds to develop transferable skills, but also to build a pipeline towards a more equitable, inclusive workforce.

So they teamed up with the external platform, Everything D&I, to establish a virtual skills programme, Deloitte I Accelerator, aimed specifically at ethnic minority students and graduates.

Building impact with 5 Million Futures

The Deloitte ‘I Accelerator’ aims to inspire young people, help them to develop new skills and enable them to work on a mock business challenge that provides insights into a career at the firm.

During the four-day programme, participants work in teams and receive mentoring throughout. There are dedicated skills sessions, as well as the chance to network and find out more about our recruitment processes and early careers opportunities.

“After running three successful programmes, our Multicultural Network wanted to have an even greater impact, so we joined forces with our Responsible Business team to expand the programme’s reach,” said Puja Shah, co-chair of the Multicultural Network.

The team connected with some of our 5 Million Futures charities focused on education and empowering underrepresented young people, including Debate Mate, IntoUniversity, Blueprint for AllJust Like Us, and the Young Women’s Trust.

The initiative has also been extended to young people from the LGBTQ+ community, led by our Proud Network, and our Gender Balance Network has piloted a programme for women and those who are non-binary.


I Accelerator online workshop run by Deloitte and Everything D&I for students and graduates from ethnic minority backgrounds

“Each group displayed a unique strength and a different perspective, which is encouraged at Deloitte. Also, working in ESG, I was touched to see a genuine enthusiasm for sustainability.”

Mary Moyalan

ESG Assurance team, Deloitte

Developing skills and know-how

During the four days, participants come up with recommendations to make a fictional fast fashion company more sustainable and present their ideas to a panel of Deloitte judges.

This helps them to develop skills including team building, researching and creating presentations whilst deepening their knowledge of sustainability issues.

Overwhelmingly positive feedback

The response from students has been incredibly positive, with comments about how inspiring, meaningful and motivational the programme was for them.

One said that it had been “the best possible experience to improve myself in terms of confidence, learning new things, group work, project management, investing in myself and overall growth.” Another felt they had been able to “gain invaluable insight into a field that can seem unattainable”.

More than 120 of our people have given their time to the programme, running sessions to support participants’ professional development, and they have been equally enthusiastic.

“The volunteers are finding so much value in helping people to get that extra bit of experience in the world of work,” says Ben Leitch, Employability Lead within the Responsible Business Team.

Enthusiasm for sustainability

Mary Moyalan, Assistant Manager within our ESG Assurance team, who was among the Deloitte judges, was impressed by the level of research that went into the programme challenge.

“Each group displayed a unique strength and a different perspective, which is encouraged at Deloitte. Also, working in ESG, I was touched to see a genuine enthusiasm for sustainability,” she says.

Our charity partners have also enthused about the Deloitte I Accelerator, and the team now has ambitious plans to work with more organisations to have an even greater impact.

“Hearing young people’s ideas, and seeing their confidence and competence is really inspiring,” says Puja, “I love it.”

To date, more than 180 young people have taken part in the Deloitte I Accelerator, some of whom have been hired as Deloitte colleagues. Over 120 people from Deloitte UK have given time to the programme, helping us move closer to the 5 Million Futures goal of empowering people to overcome barriers to skills, education and employment.

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