Schools Challenge is a first step in new social mobility approach

The Schools Challenge, which concluded on Monday 29 April, was designed to give UK state-school students currently completing A-Levels (or equivalent) the opportunity to develop skills they need to become the commercial lawyers of the future, whilst also winning prizes for their school and themselves.

As part of a new social mobility recruitment initiative, PRIME member Linklaters launched the Making Links Schools Challenge, aimed at helping young people improve their commercial awareness and presentation skills.
Making Links, launched in December 2018, brings together the range of programmes Linklaters has in place globally that focus on recruiting talented people from socio-economically less advantaged backgrounds.

Students were asked to answer a question around Innovation, a key topic for the firm, via a mini essay or short presentation. 20 students from 20 schools all over the UK were selected to take part in a Grand Final event.

An overall winner was selected from the Finalists and that was Naima Ali from Portsmouth College who wrote a submission focused on Amazon’s business model. Other themes covered in submissions were social media, plastics, Brexit and blockchain.

David Martin, Global Diversity & Inclusion Partner, said: “We want to actively address this imbalance by engaging with local and regional state schools and launching new initiatives under Making Links to help young people from less privileged backgrounds access mentoring and training opportunities and feel empowered to make informed decisions about their futures.”

André Flemmings, Global & Diversity Recruitment Manager, said: “Making Links Schools Challenge is our attempt to highlight to young people that the commercial world is not so removed from the world they inhabit, and that the creativity and real interest they have in the world around them that their submissions show are exactly building blocks they would need to be the successful commercial lawyers of the future.”

Following a successful pilot of the competition, the firm will run this again next year in the UK.

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