Last week saw the Cardiff and Oxford offices host fourteen, 14-16 year old students as part of Blake Morgan’s Growing Ambitions initiative - a unique trainee led work placement scheme aimed at young people from social housing. The scheme is designed to help talented young residents of our social housing clients who would not otherwise have access to the professions, placing them in a week of action-packed work experience.
One of our social housing clients perfectly encapsulates the issue and explains how the scheme benefits the students who take part:
“We have young people in our communities just as bright and talented as any in the UK, they just don’t have the social networks to get opportunities for work experience at professional firms. A placement at Blake Morgan can open doors on chances to aim higher in their lives.”
The week was full of activities designed to give the students a flavour of the legal world and broaden their horizons. They met barristers, attended court and visited Oxford Brookes and Cardiff University respectively. The Welsh students were even lucky enough to attend the Welsh National Museum during their lunch break.
Students relaxing on campus in Oxford and trying life as a barrister.
It wasn’t all about fun trips out though! The students were put through their paces in mock job interviews and given advice on drafting a CV. They experienced placements in departments throughout the firm including: Business Development, Commercial, Family, SWAT, Corporate and Banking, Dispute Resolution, Employment, HR, Insurance, Professional Regulatory and Property to ensure that they gained a real view of what working in a law firm was like.
There were also workshops devoted to transferable skills such as presentations and negotiation - the presentations given in Oxford were even impressive enough to earn the praise of a visiting barrister! During the negotiation workshops the students demonstrated a real flair, displaying steely resolve and strategic insight well beyond their years. This does not bode well for those who may be negotiating against them in the future!
Students negotiating in Cardiff and demonstrating their marketing skills during a branding workshop in Oxford. They were given the task of developing a brand for a radio station aimed at their contemporaries.
The students expressed their thanks for the week spent with us, with feedback like:
- “The activities were amazing.”
- “I am a lot more interested in law and I think it could be something I would do in the future.”
- “The experience has made me certain that law is something I want to pursue.”
At the end of the week the students were given individual certificates commemorating their personal achievements during the week. This was at a presentation attended by client representatives who were very impressed with what they saw.
Many thanks to all those who helped out with the scheme; it was a huge task and requires a lot of time and effort. The efforts of our staff and the success of the scheme have not gone unnoticed by our clients.
“Wales & West Housing are really pleased that we were able to offer this worthwhile opportunity to Toby and that he got so much out of it. We hope to be able to repeat this opportunity to our residents of Merthyr Tydfil next year.”
We’ll leave you with a quote from one of our students from the Cardiff scheme:
“I now know that I want to be a judge”
How’s that for Growing Ambitions?!