A LEADING law firm teamed up with schools and colleges across the North East to give teenagers an insight into the workings of a professional business.
Newcastle-based Muckle LLP developed the Inspiring Careers programme to provide work experience opportunities for students from eight schools and colleges during the recent half-term break.
The aim is to enable young people from a variety of backgrounds to consider a career with a professional services business and gain valuable work experience, which will hopefully help them stand out when they apply for jobs or places at university.
Managing partner Stephen McNicol said: “It is increasingly difficult for young people to break into the legal profession without relevant work experience, and evidence suggests that it is even harder for those who do not have connections or family networks that create work experience opportunities.
“We have made a long-term commitment to this region, and in particular to supporting the communities in which we live and work. That’s why we believe it right to broaden our CSR programme to include projects like the Inspiring Careers Programme.”
The approach was recently endorsed by Lord Adonis in his key note address to the region’s education leaders at the Schools North East Conference.
McNicol added: “We want to provide young people from a variety of backgrounds with the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in a professional services business.
“We hope that any preconceptions that the students might have about law firms will be quickly forgotten. The week-long programme focuses not only on what it is like to be a commercial lawyer, but also the range of other critical roles that are undertaken by people in the business.
“The students will spend time with HR, finance, business development, IT and client service teams and well as working with the lawyers.
“We believe very strongly in nurturing the talent we have in the region. To do that we need to help students understand what the opportunities are.”
The schools involved in the programme were Kenton School, St Thomas More RC High School, Park View School, Cramlington Learning Village, Churchill Community College, Seaton Burn College, Walbottle Campus and The Northumberland Church of England Academy.
Lauren Graham, a year 12 student at Kenton School, said of the Programme: “I have always been interested in doing law and I wanted to take part because law is such a hard area to get work experience in. This week was a great opportunity to gain new skills and talk to lots of people working at a law firm.”
Jess Cotton, who is in year 13 at Cramlington Learning Village, added: “An experience like this was really appealing to me. This opportunity will hopefully give me a good insight into law and reinforce my ambition to study law at university.”