DWF primary, secondary and university student leadership programme to be national by 2014

DWF will roll out a national development and leadership programme for school children and university graduates over the next year.

The scheme, 5 Star Futures, aims to boost students’ employability skills and is not limited to lawyers but involves staff from across the firm.

This year, the scheme ran in Manchester and Liverpool and involved scondary school students and DWF staff. Next year the firm will recruit local university business and law undergraduates and primary school students and aim to establish a “knowledge exchange” between people on different points of their school lives and careers.

Associate Simon Price, responsible for developing and delivering the programme with educational instiutions across the North West, said: “It is very much about valuing people’s personal narratives – where they come from and how to show that resilience is really key.”

The scheme is currently running in Manchester and Liverpool and in September 2012 will be extended to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle and Preston. The rest of DWF’s offices will run the programme in 2014.

Launched in October 2012, 5 Star Futures runs as a six-part programme. Interactive workshops on confidence, communication skills and aspiration were run by over 40 members of DWF staff.

Price told Lawyer2B that he is responsible for explaining the programme to year 10 students.

He continued: “The students are then invited to apply to be part of the programme. They have to write a side of A4 as to why they think they would benefit from the programme. The best 15 are chosen by the school to take part. Best is not measured in academic performance or ability, but a real desire to participate in programme.”

Sally Beever, headteacher at Broadgreen International School, the first school to partake in the programme, commented: “The benefit to our students has been incredible. Not only have they had an insight into the world of work, they have also had the opportunity to work closely with professionals to develop their own skills and personal attributes.”

Price added: “We wanted to engage with and try to undertand the challenges for these kids. It is about trying to transfer the knowledge of DWF employees to kids who have loads of enthusiasm but perhaps do not know the best way to use that enthusiasm.”