A recruitment company set up to ensure fair pay for interns has widened its scope to encourage firms to become more diverse and inclusive in the way they hire staff.

Edinburgh-based Adopt an Intern has grown beyond its initial challenge identified in 2010 and now helps reach motivated job seekers of all ages, skill sets and backgrounds who fill a range of different roles regardless of background, race or gender.

Now trading as AAI EmployAbility, the not-for-profit has refreshed its approach and brand to highlight its expertise and long-term work on diversity and inclusion. This aligns with trends highlighted by representative body, CIPD, which show businesses that take diversity and inclusion seriously increase both their market competitiveness and corporate reputation. 

With the ‘digital skills shortage’ an ongoing concern and UK employers admitting that ‘diversity’ and ‘retention’ are their biggest challenges, AAI’s deep promoting and holistic approach to onboarding has struck a chord with businesses of all sizes. 

AAI has been championing gender diversity and ‘equality of opportunity’ in Scotland since 2010. In the last year, 44% of applications to STEM roles with AAI were from women, equating to 65% of the successfully placed candidates.

This year AAI celebrates placing its 1,500th person into work and has met its targets both for successful placing of candidates and increasing diversity. These include:

-97% of job roles facilitated filled successfully
-65% of successful applicants are women
-35% of applicants are first of their family to attend university

It has been able to achieve this via a mix of technology, skills and experience which ensures transparency and equality of opportunity in an increasingly competitive job market.

Joy Lewis, Founder and Chief Executive of AAI, said: “AAI has always been about inclusion and diversity, and now more than ever employers are coming to us looking to reach a wider talent market. The scope of the work we do and the people we help means we’ve outgrown the initial mission of the ‘Adopt an Intern’ monicker. ‘AAI EmployAbility’ reflects our wider focus on inclusive recruitment beyond internships to incorporate social impact project that support Corporate Social Responsibility.

“From startups to national industry leaders, we help them hire for potential and fresh ideas. I encourage forward-thinking employers throughout the UK to get in touch with us and discover what we can do for them, whatever their need.”

Serial entrepreneur and AAI employer Vicky Brock, who was named ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year’ at Scotland Women In Technology Awards 2019, said: “I can say having worked with lots of recruitment agencies, I have never seen a more diverse group of shortlisted candidates on every level. Age, ethnic background, gender, subject studied, outlook on life, socioeconomic abilities and disabilities. It was amazing to see such talent interested in our company.”