Getting to Know the BLD Foundation
What is the BLD Foundation?
The Milburn Report on Fair Access to the Professions, commissioned by the Government in 2009, recommended key action steps such as –
- Providing opportunities to gain insights into professional life
- A network of career mentors, and
- Reforming careers advice
a number of which were already being delivered by BLD. In January 2012 the BLD Foundation was formally registered as a charitable company limited by guarantee and a new team created to further develop the work of the Foundation.
The BLD Foundation is a registered charity with the Charity Number 1148365 and is also an incorporated charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales with registration number 07898613. The registered address is at 288 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QP. We are currently largely sponsored and supported by leading law firms, Barristers’ Chambers, Law Schools, two FTSE 100 companies and two Trusts and Foundations.
BLD Foundations Mission
Our mission is to support young people from ethnic minority and/ or socio-economically underprivileged backgrounds towards achieving their fullest potential. We do this by providing them with knowledge and information about the opportunities available in the legal profession, equipping them with the skills to take advantage of these opportunities, and providing them with access to work placements and recruitment opportunities in leading
firms and chambers nationally.
BLD Foundation Work
Our flagship Legal Gateway Scheme runs nationally with particular focus on London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. We work very closely with schools and universities. We are hugely grateful for the support of our sponsors and supporters including Barclays and many others without whom we could not run our programmes. The Legal Gateway Scheme has four distinct programmes catering to the needs of different groups of young people at different stages in their personal and academic development:
- Today’s Children Tomorrow’s Lawyers (TCTL) for early secondary school years and sixth formers; (13 - to - 19 year olds, pre-university)
- First Headstart (FH) for first year Law and second year non- law undergraduates;
- Legal Launch Pad (LLP) for second and third year undergraduates as well as postgraduates interested in law (Aged 18-30); and
- The Make a Difference Be the Difference (MDBD) programme focusing on mentoring for those aged 18 and above.
What Makes Us Different
We run an established and respected national scheme with a small but dedicated team that has achieved good success with well-known organisations including Barclays, BP, Clifford Chance, DAC Beachcroft, Baker McKenzie, Slaughter and May, Matrix Chambers, No. 5 Chambers and the Jomati Foundation.
We are equally sponsor and beneficiary focused. Our flagship Legal Gateway Scheme receives exceptional corporate goodwill and support. Our students receive tailored support from our very capable and effective team. We are known to be flexible and continuously improving based on feedback collated from all our events, both from beneficiaries and partners. Over the years, we have established a good network of contacts in leading organisations; both from working closely with them to deliver our programmes and from programme alumni who remain very keen to give something back through volunteering. Furthermore we start from an early school age to raise awareness and aspirations and also cater for those at university and beyond.
In summary, the things that make us different include:
- Our focus on talent, diversity and social mobility. We focus on young people from ethnic minority and/or socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This enables us to provide a more focused service that can truly transform lives.
- Our committed focus on both the sponsor and beneficiary. We work very closely with our partners to ensure that we satisfy sponsors’ requirements whilst also focusing on the intended beneficiaries’ personal and career development.
- We start from an early school age to raise awareness and aspirations and cater for those at universities and beyond. Research and studies over the years confirm the need to start working with young people at an earlier age to improve their career prospects.
- We provide a progression route from awareness raising, intensive support, training and direct links with potential employers and partners in the legal and other professions.
- We provide opportunities for personal development through a variety of well thought-through activities for schools to engage students in developing their awareness, skills and aspirations in the legal and other professions.