'5 STAR Futures' is a community education initiative founded by the legal business with the aim of empowering ambitious young people to unlock their potential by developing the skills and confidence required to succeed in the workplace.
In Scotland, DWF have three thriving 5 STAR Futures educational programmes with local partner schools: Leith Academy, Govan High School and St Benedict's High School. The programme is open to all pupils that the school believes will benefit.
During the programme, the pupils were invited to take part in three employability workshops at DWF's Glasgow and Edinburgh offices.
The workshops included practical activities and talks with staff from across the business to introduce pupils to the concept of networking, developing job applications, CVs and interview skills, culminating with the opportunity for students to submit a CV and cover letter for a work experience placement, attend a panel interview with a DWF partner and take part in a group assessment.
All participating students were provided with feedback on their interview, leaving with a working CV and cover letter. The six successful pupils from each school were invited back for a three-day work experience placement at DWF's Scottish offices in late May which were tailored to the pupils' interests.
For pupils who had a keen interest in pursuing a career in law, their experience had a legal focus, featuring meetings with solicitors in each team across the business to discuss the various practice groups and job roles.
Pupils who were undecided on what to pursue after school were provided with information on the variety of non-legal roles that exist in the business, with meetings held with business admin, marketing and HR staff, giving them the opportunity to discover more about different career paths.
The students also had the chance to present on what they had learned throughout their work experience to a DWF partner or director.
Speaking highly of the experience, one student said: "Hearing about the various roles and the journey which many staff took to get to the positions that they are now in was inspiring.” Another student said: "These stories showed me I don’t need to have a clear view on what I want to do when I’m older, whilst it’s good to have an idea, I don’t need a rigid path."
Curriculum leader of social subjects at Leith Academy, Nadia Steele, discussed the initiative. Speaking favourably of the school's partnership with DWF, she said: "Working with DWF has given our pupils an invaluable insight into the world of work. The mentoring programme offered by DWF has developed many skills in our young people. The pupils are certainly more confident in their abilities and are better equipped to communicate with others.
"Pupils enjoy being treated as young adults, learning appropriate workplace behaviours and hearing about possible pathways after school. Importantly, DWF stresses that there is so much more to working for a law firm than being a lawyer, which is something that many pupils had not considered.
"DWF has been inspiring Leith Academy pupils for several years now and testament to this is that one of the first 5 Star pupils has just completed their first year studying law at university."
Caroline Colliston, executive partner for DWF in Scotland, commented: "Our continued involvement with Leith Academy, Govan High School and St Benedict's High School as part of our 5 Star Futures programme is something we are very proud of.
"During the last 12 months, DWF have logged over 2,400 volunteer hours supporting educational and employability activities across the business. Over 1,000 of these hours were invested in our 5 STAR Futures initiative by colleagues at various stages of their careers.
"Our teams look forward to the pupils visiting our offices and relish the opportunity to help build the confidence of the pupils, widen their understanding of the world of work in a legal setting and ultimately provide them with work experience.
"This provides an opportunity for personal growth of our team as well as the pupils we engage with. It is wonderful to be part of this and for DWF in Scotland to play our part in creating aspiration and building an inclusive workforce of the future."