Law firm helps to nurture teens’ growing ambitions

Team work from Blake Morgan partner William Downing, far left, with the work experience students, and trainee solicitors Madeleine Mould, centre, and far right, Katherine Plunkett and Harriet Shaw

TEENAGERS from Oxfordshire grasped the chance to gain insight into legal life and improve their work prospects by joining a work placement run by law firm Blake Morgan.

Now in its fifth year and held at Blake Morgan’s offices in Oxford and Cardiff, Growing Ambitions gives teenage tenants nominated by housing associations the chance to spend a week of their summer holidays at the firm.

The scheme, structured and run entirely by trainee solicitors, aims to introduce 16 to 18 year olds to the world of work, to break down some of the barriers to a career in the legal profession and enhance their future prospects of employment.

Throughout the week, participants gained insight into the various roles undertaken in a law firm, shadowing trainee solicitors, and attending presentations run by a barrister and other lawyers.

They also took part in university campus tours and were talked through CV writing and assessment centre preparation in a workshop run by HR.

Among the 16 students  were four young tenants who were nominated by Cottsway Housing Association in West Oxfordshire. They were joined on the scheme by others from Vale of Aylesbury Housing Association.

Vicki Paxford, communities manager at Cottsway Housing Association, said: “Growing Ambitions is a window to experiencing a profession our students may not have otherwise been able to benefit from.

“Schemes such as this can make a huge difference to the lives of young people, inspiring them to aim high in their forthcoming career.

“Our students enjoyed their time with Blake Morgan and we are proud to be associated with the scheme.”

William Downing, a partner in the employment team at Blake Morgan, said: “We’re delighted that for five years now, Growing Ambitions has provided young people with the chance to gain work experience in a legal environment they may otherwwise not have access to.

“The aim is to equip the students with knowledge of the skills and experience they will need to build a career in law, and to simply understand how the life of a solicitor might play out each day across the different practice areas in our firm.

“As well as the legal aspect, this is also a valuable opportunity for these young people to understand and experience office life.

“It has been a pleasure to have this year’s group and we do hope the scheme will help them to fulfil their future ambitions.”

Cottsway is the largest provider of social housing 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.

Vale of Aylesbury Housing provides affordable housing to more than 17,000 people in its area.

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