Inclusive growth: a city for all

From building new affordable homes to protecting jobs; paying and promoting the real Living Wage to improving public transport options; supporting schools to tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergencies, we want to keep delivering inclusive and sustainable growth. Building a better Bristol where everyone from every community can participate in the city’s economy and share in its success, regardless of their background, is our mission as an administration.

So many projects across Bristol help do just that, striving to leave nobody behind as we continue to work together as we recover from the pandemic. Today I’m highlighting just three, which work alongside Council and One City programmes like our Digital Inclusion scheme, which provides at least 3,000 laptops and training to help reduce digital poverty in Bristol. Through Bristol WORKS, which works with local employers, we have provided some 16,500 experiences of work to Bristolians since launching – including virtually during the pandemic – and this week had Polar Preet visit City Academy and St Bernadette’s to help inspire young people too. If you are a Bristol-based employer and want to get involved in Bristol WORKS, email:

Stepping Up

Our multi-award-winning leadership programme, Stepping Up, is currently recruiting for its fifth cohort. Stepping Up was inspired by leadership development initiatives at Harvard and other leading Business Schools, and Baroness MacGregor-Smith’s Race in the workplace report. It works to diversify the face of leadership across our city through training for Disabled people; Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Communities; and women.

By the end of 2022, we will have a talent pool of 300 diverse leaders making an impact in Bristol and beyond. More than 60% of previous participants have reported career progress since their time on the programme, including promotion to senior leadership roles.

This year’s programme will include a ‘Career Passport’, global virtual mentoring, a stretch assignment based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and a world-class virtual learning platform.

Read more about the programme in this case study by the Local Government Association.

Lloyds Banking Group

Working with Black South West Network, and after discussions with Black-led businesses and entrepreneurs, Lloyds Banking Group launched two pilots in October. Their mentoring programme, connects senior Business Relationship Managers with businesses for six months, alongside a monthly banking surgery at the Coach House in St Pauls to provide early stage advice and support.

Interventions like these can prove essential to build trust and engagement between banks and community, and to develop business and financial expertise in entrepreneurs’ networks – adding to initiatives like their Digital Academy to get more people online and their Career Taster sessions, which see 15-18 year-olds explore a day in the life of bank, marketing, communications managers and more. Lloyds’ Digital Academy is free to use, and is not just for Lloyds’ customers, alongside Money Management Support.

As well as these initiatives in Bristol, Lloyds Banking Group’s Black Business Advisory Committee has held listening session around the country to better understand the challenges faced by Black business owners and entrepreneurs, and produced the Black. British. In Business & Proud Report.

Strive Internships

In 2020, amid the pandemic and rising unemployment among young people, particularly young Black students, we identified a need to create more opportunities for people at risk of being left behind. Working with Hargreaves Lansdown and the University of the West of England, we launched the West of England Black Interns Pilot. The scheme created 45 paid internships, across 18 organisations in the region, including Bristol City Council and my mayoral office.

Every organisation taking part – including the Police, NHS, Burges Salmon, and Ghyston – said they would like to be involved again, and 100% of interns would recommend this internship to other students. You can read more in the 2021 Impact Report (below) or hear directly from Abraham, Musa, Adila, Biniyam, and Liam, five of the Black Interns at the Council.

Building on the success of the first year, we have expanded the programme to become the Strive Internship scheme. This year we’re aiming for organisations across the region to recruit 75 Black Interns to start work this summer, and Hargreaves Lansdown are currently assessing applications.