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Clifford Chance throws open its doors to help boost networking and employability skills of students

22 November 2012

Clifford Chance throws open its doors to help boost networking and employability skills of students

Clifford Chance will be hosting a group of students aged 16 to19 from Challenge College in Bradford and Washwood Heath Technology College in Birmingham on Thursday 22 November, to give them a taste of working life, and to help boost their employability skills. 

The eye-opening visit is part of a day-long event, ‘A Capital Experience’, organised by aspiration-raising business-education charity Career Academies UK. The day will involve over 100 leading UK employers, and around 1,300 young people will attend.

In the morning, Clifford Chance will provide 20 students with a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how the organisation works, including a workplace tour. They will also take part in a career carousel and get to meet and interview people from different departments in the firm.

Clifford Chance has been involved with the Career Academy programme for 7 year and provides one-to-one mentoring to young people on the programme.

Cathy Jones, Head of Community Outreach at Clifford Chance said: “In the current economic climate, when it is more competitive than ever for young people to secure jobs and youth unemployment is on the increase, it is vital that employers work closely with schools and colleges to develop a skilled and diverse future workforce. We hope ‘A Capital Experience’ will help these students realise that there are many career paths open to them, show them what the world of work involves and encourage them to consider a range of options when it comes to future employment.”

After the visit to Clifford Chance, all the groups will make their way to the Royal Festival Hall, where they will get the chance to network with other young people from across the country taking part in the programme and participate in business-related activities to boost their employability skills.

During the afternoon, they will also receive valuable advice from motivational speaker Action Jackson; adventurer Tori James, who was in the first ever all-female team to complete the Polar Challenge, a grueling 360 mile race to the magnetic North Pole; and Career Academies UK Chair, Heather McGregor. The afternoon will be led by Master of Ceremonies Lee Jackson, the UK’s most experienced school and college motivational speaker and author of ‘How to be Sick [great] at School’.

James McCreary, Chief Executive of Career Academies UK, said: “Never has the relationship between student and employer been so crucial. Young people have to go the extra mile, be proactive and understand the basics of business in order to get ahead. Employers have to be more forthcoming and make a greater effort to engage with, and motivate, the talent on their doorsteps.

“Networking is a force to be reckoned with, even more so in person than online. Each party comes away with valuable perspectives. Students develop their communications skills, profit from an insider’s advantage and often learn about jobs before they’re advertised.”

‘A Capital Experience’ is the biggest national one-day event in the Career Academy calendar and kicks off the two-year programme for young people taking part.

Career Academies UK is a business-led charity that helps young people bridge the gap between school and work by giving them access to real experience of the working world.

They provide a structured programme of paid internships, mentoring, motivational lectures and workshops to give 16-19 year olds, largely from urban areas of social need, the work experience and skills they need to be able to perform more effectively in the wider world. The programme is designed to compliment students’ studies.

Employee volunteers from around the UK contribute time and skills to a Career Academy – as guest speakers in the classroom, one-to-one mentors, or by hosting workplace visits or paid summer internships.

At the end of the programme, over 85% of Career Academy graduates go on to higher education (often the first in their family), or into employment or work based learning such as apprenticeships or school leaver programmes.