Allen & Overy has been awarded a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility, a new category for 2017. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are presented to UK businesses for outstanding achievement; this award recognises the contribution of Allen & Overy in broadening access to the legal profession through initiatives such as PRIME and The Smart Start Experience.
Allen & Overy is a founding member of PRIME, the work experience commitment from the legal profession which aims to create an industry standard required to ensure fair access to quality work experience for school-age students across the UK from disadvantaged backgrounds. Established in September 2011, PRIME members had provided high quality work experience to more than 4,000 young people by 2015, significantly exceeding the original target of 2,500.
As part of its PRIME commitment, every summer Allen & Overy gives 200 students from state schools access to a high-quality work experience programme – The Smart Start Experience – in London. In 2016, the scheme was extended to India and South Africa.
The Smart Start Experience is the only work experience scheme in the UK legal sector to be
accredited by City & Guilds; all those who attend the full week-long programme in London gain a formal certificate of achievement. 98% of young people who attended the programme in 2016 reported feeling better prepared for the world of work, more confident to apply for jobs and other work placements and more aware of the various types of careers in the City of London.
Andrew Ballheimer, managing partner of Allen & Overy, commented: “It is an honour to receive this award in recognition of our efforts in this area. Social mobility continues to be high on our agenda; it is important to us that we are leading the way among the legal profession. Businesses need to play their part and work together to change the landscape and ensure that access and opportunities are there for everyone.”