Diversity, Talent Management and Social Mobility are the three features being brought together by the BLD Foundation on the 29th January, as their annual intake of applicants begins the Legal Launch Pad Programme. The “Induction” event is being hosted this year by corporate sponsors and long-time supporters, Barclays, in Canary Wharf.
The Legal Launch Pad Programme; a key part of the BLD Foundation’s Legal Gateway Scheme which aims to assist students from the ages of 13 – 30 through its range of programmes; supports up to 60 candidates a year from across the country. The aim of the programme is to equip participants with the skills and confidence needed to take the next step towards their legal career by providing them with legal skills training workshops, one-to-one mentoring and work placements with sponsoring firms.
The programme boasts a high success rate - of 41 students supported in 2013, 20% had secured training contracts by May 2014 and 51% were employed full time in legal roles. Similarly, of 40 students supported on the LLP programme in 2014, 25% had secured training contracts by the ‘passing out ceremony’ in September 2014 and a further 28% were in employment (with 48% of students continuing their university education). Of 56 beneficiaries in 2015, 20 had received training contracts by November 2015 and many more are in legal employment (compliance and legal assistance roles).
The Legal Launch Pad Programme is run with the sponsorship of top city firms, chambers and universities including Barclays, Baker & McKenzie, DAC Beachcroft, the Government Legal Service (GLS), No5 Chambers, Pinsent Masons, Shoosmiths, Sidley Austin LLP, The University of Law, and Vodafone. The charity also receives support from BP, Criterion Partnership, BPP Law School, Slaughter and May, BP and the London Borough of Hackney Legal team.
Founded in 2008 by non-practising solicitor and barrister Debo Nwauzu, The BLD Foundation is a small charity based in London, run by a small dedicated team who are passionate about making a difference in diversity and social mobility in the legal profession, and providing advancement opportunities to young disadvantaged people in the UK. Since January 2012, the Foundation has helped over 2000 young people in schools and universities nationally through their Legal Gateway Scheme programmes, providing access to information, skills and opportunities that participants would not have had access to otherwise due to socio-economic limitations. The BLD Foundation is working hard with the help of their sponsors and supporters to improve diversity in the legal sector, helping talent to be recognised regardless of the background.
The BLD Foundations welcomes their new set of successful applicants and looks forward to another excellent year of the Legal Launch Pad Programme.
Debo Nwauzu, the Founder who is now a Patron of BLD Foundation said “The Legal Launch Pad is the only diversity and social mobility access programme that selects and supports undergraduate and postgraduate students throughout, up to and including when they attain full-time employment. This unique programme aimed at those from BAME or socially disadvantaged backgrounds lasts for 9 months and is run nationally; guarantees its participants work experience, one-to-one mentoring, training workshops; and ends with a graduation event. Participants access work experience in FTSE 100 companies like Barclays and BP; leading private practice firms like Pinsent Masons, Baker & McKenzie and Sidley Austin; and the public sector such as the Government Legal Services (GLS) and Hackney Council.”
“This programme is one of the most innovative programmes available to support those who aspire to become lawyers - it equips those from a less privileged background to compete on equal terms with those who have had significant educational and financial advantage. Every year, this initiative helps numerous students to rise to their full potential” said District Judge Tan Ikram, a Trustee of the BLD Foundation.
“We are very pleased that our sponsors recognise and support the aims of the LLP. Without such generous support, the students we help would be at a disadvantage in one of the most competitive sector in the City” said Farah Dehalvi, a Trustee and beneficiary of the BLD Foundation’s programmes, and who has gone on to great success working in a top tier investment bank.
“The Legal Launch Pad launches students into a world they would otherwise find difficult to access. It is a programme focussed on social mobility and helps to lift students over barriers to entry into a profession which traditionally does not favour such students” said Sailesh Mehta, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the BLD Foundation.
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