Ensuring diversity in both Taylor Wessing and the wider legal profession is a continuous commitment of our firm and the area of social mobility is one in which we are heavily involved. We have established strong relationships with our charity partner Future First and The Social Mobility Foundation and we have utilised these relationships when developing our work experience programme: Tomorrow’s Talent.
In devising the Tomorrow’s Talent programme we wanted to offer participating students an opportunity to broaden their understanding of the legal profession, but at the same time open their eyes to other professional careers available to them. We therefore took the decision to partner with some of our key clients to include a client placement as part of the programme. This enhances the students’ placements by enabling them to:
– Experience a different type of working environment;
– Gain exposure to a different career path and business structure; and
– Broaden their understanding of how other businesses engage with law firms.
Taylor Wessing work with Future First and the Social Mobility Foundation to attract students from less privileged backgrounds. Our annual ten-day programme for up to twenty students combines valuable, meaningful work experience with relevant training and group project work. Some of the students sit in the practice and some spend time in the business services departments. Students spend at least five days at our London office and up to five days with one of our clients.
The International Artist Managers’ Association (IAMA) – is the only worldwide association for classical music artist managements. Atholl Swainston-Harrison, Chief Executive, explained how the IAMA are hugely supportive of offering work experience opportunities to students with talent and enthusiasm who don’t necessarily have the contacts to get a foot in the door:
“Taylor Wessing have been a long standing partner organisation of IAMA so when they proposed their Tomorrow’s Talent programme to us, it was an instant fit given our Young International Performers programme we offer members. At first we wondered if we could provide enough relevant experience to any candidate given our niche market but after two very promising candidates, we are convinced by the vision of Taylor Wessing and the initiative that doesn’t just tick a corporate responsibility box.”
The Tomorrow’s Talent programme takes place each August and has support and involvement from a number of senior individuals across the firm, including Martin Winter (former Senior Partner and Private Equity Partner):
“We believe the programme provides a unique, invaluable experience to participating students and has significantly improved on the successes we have seen from other social mobility initiatives we have been involved in. It also enables us to partner with and effectively engage our clients, in promoting the value of opening up their businesses to anyone with the required level of talent and determination; not just those from a particular background.”
Students who have participated told us that they found the programme invaluable in helping them to understand the working world and the skills needed to succeed:
“I really appreciated the fact that I had the opportunity to experience the office life and the daily routine. Furthermore, I enjoyed a lot working for the clients as it involved doing a completely different job”. – Future First student
“I enjoyed absolutely everything about the scheme and am so grateful to have been chosen. I have thoroughly improved my time and organisational skills, alongside my analytical and problem solving techniques. The advice I was given was truly invaluable and was ten times more useful than any textbook, newspaper or website could ever have given.” – Social Mobility Foundation student
Results from other social mobility initiatives we have been involved in as a firm have been extremely positive. As Future First’s first corporate sponsor, we have taken great pride in working alongside them to offer various interactive opportunities to help raise the confidence and career aspirations of students from inner city state schools. We have run numerous employability days at our London office and in the feedback collated after each event, all students rated the experience as ‘useful’ or ‘very useful’ in terms of improving their awareness and confidence about career options and employability. Teachers also noted that pupils returning to school were more confident, optimistic and motivated to work hard.