Stephenson Harwood has linked up with youth mobility charity Whizz-Kidz to offer a disabled university student two weeks of work experience.
Imperial College student Sophia Wong is currently studying chemistry and wants to convert to law after completing her undergraduate degree.
Having spent time in the firm’s intellectual property and marine law departments, Wong says: “Taking part in the work placement was a fantastic experience, and one I feel has really helped me decide the direction I want my career to take when I finish university.
“I’m really grateful to everyone at Stephenson Harwood for making me feel so welcome and giving me such an interesting range of tasks to undertake, including assisting senior partners with research for cases.”
The placement was secured by Whizz-Kidz, a spokesperson for which told Lawyer 2B that it is more difficult for disabled young people to gain experience in a profession, saying: “That’s what our ambassadors are telling us. We have around 1,000 ambassadors nationwide aged from 15 to 25. After the issue of finding the right wheelchair, the next most common issue we are contacted about is employment.
“There’s an element of uncertainty, people tend to wonder if they will be treated differently and given the same opportunities. Sophia is now much less intimidated about applying to similar things in future.”
Sue Millar, commercial litigation partner, says: “We are delighted that Sophia chose to join us for work experience… Sophia has provided us with valuable support across practice groups.”
A survey earlier this year revealed that more than 70 per cent of affected graduates are still concerned about disclosing a disability to potential employers or would prefer not to disclose it at all. (23 May 2012)