Young people given a taste of life at a law firm

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Young people began the school holidays with a taste of working life thanks to a scheme run by Oxford law firm Blake Morgan.

Now in its third year at Blake Morgan’s Oxford office, Growing Ambitions gives teenage tenants nominated by housing associations the chance to spend a week with trainee solicitors at the firm.

The scheme aims to introduce the young people to the law and to break down some of the barriers to a career in the legal profession.

Participants were given three mornings of work experience, shadowing trainee solicitors. They also took part in CV and interview workshops, enjoyed a visit from a barrister and went on trips to the law faculty at Oxford Brookes University and to Oxford Combined Court.

Among the students taking part this year were two young tenants who were nominated by Cottsway Housing Association in Witney. They were joined on the scheme by others from the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust in Buckinghamshire.

Sam Stronach, Cottsway’s community investment officer, said: “Cottsway is proud to be associated with Growing Ambitions again this year. The two students enjoyed their time at Blake Morgan, which gave them an insight into life in the legal profession that they are unlikely to have experience without the scheme.

“Schemes like this are so important for raising young people’s aspirations and we are sure that those involved have benefited greatly from the time they have spent at Blake Morgan.”

William Downing, a partner in the employment team at Blake Morgan, said: “Growing Ambitions is entirely run by our trainee solicitors and provides a window into the legal profession to young people who don’t have any existing connections to those working in the law.

“For many of these young people it is their first experience of office life, and for those looking to study law when they leave school, we try to show them what daily life as a solicitor is like and give them an idea of the skills and experience they will need to secure a career in the law.

“We have been really impressed with this year’s group and hope this experience will help them to fulfil their future ambitions.”

Cottsway is the largest local Registered Provider (RP) operating within the West Oxfordshire District. It owns and manages more than 4,500 homes and provides services to 135 leaseholders and almost 200 part-owners in its shared ownership schemes.

Growing Ambitions is one of a number of community schemes run by Blake Morgan to help inspire people who are starting out in the world of work. They also include the firm’s work with the PRIME initiative, which offers work experience to young people from less privileged backgrounds, and the charity SPEAR, which offers mentoring to unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds.