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Work experience at Allen & Overy

Every summer, Allen & Overy gives young people from state schools access to a high-quality work experience programme in our London office. Following the programme’s success in India and South Africa, we recently extended Smart Start to Hong Kong.

In 2017, Smart Start was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for ‘Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility’. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are presented to businesses for outstanding achievement. This award recognises the contribution of A&O in broadening access to the legal profession through initiatives such as PRIME and The Smart Start Experience.

Through Smart Start, we want to inspire talented and ambitious young people to consider a career in business.  We equip our students (who are either eligible for free school meals or will be the first generation in their family to go to university) with the skills and belief to take their first steps on the career ladder.

The Smart Start Experience is also the only work experience scheme in the UK legal sector to be accredited by City & Guilds. This means all those who attend the full week-long programme in London and who pass City & Guild’s assessment criteria gain a formal certificate of achievement.

Alongside this completion certificate participants can opt to share their achievements online, through a digital badge. A digital badge is an image file with verified information that can be viewed online, and is issued by City & Guilds who has recognised the skills and achievements of participants. The digital badge can be shared on popular social or professional media platforms to employers to promote and amplify participant's achievements.

Applications for Smart Start 2020 are now closed. We will start taking applications for summer 2021 in October 2020.

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Access to education and employment

 

The Smart Start Experience

Smart Start

The programme


Allen & Overy launched the Smart Start Experience in 2009 with the aim of giving young people from non-privileged backgrounds access to high quality work experience in the world of business.

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Smart Start

Impact and feedback


Smart teaches you about things that you can't learn at school but are essential to life and the world of work.

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Smart Start

PRIME


PRIME is an alliance of law firms and in-house legal departments across the UK who have made a commitment to broaden access to the legal profession.

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The Queen's awards for enterprise: Promoting opportunity 2017  City & Guilds - Accredited Programme logo

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Smart Start in Hong Kong, India and South Africa

Following on from the success of Smart Start in London, the Smart Start programme has been launched in Hong Kong, India and South Africa.

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The international Smart Start programmes are aimed at providing necessary career building skills to students from under represented backgrounds.

A&O held its first international Smart Start Experience in India, in collaboration with the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) project. IDIA identifies candidates with potential from marginalised and under-represented backgrounds and introduces them to law as a career option.

The students spent two days with A&O lawyers, local university professors and IDIA volunteers refining their business and soft skills, including presentation techniques, interview style and persuasive writing.

“Without any doubt I can say it is the greatest experience I have had in my professional life,” says a student on the Smart Start India programme. “I would like to thank Allen & Overy for conducting such an important workshop for IDIA scholars.”

Smart Start International programme for 17 students at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

In the same year, the Smart Start programme was launched in Johannesburg in South Africa. The programme provided bright and enthusiastic students with an opportunity to interact and learn from their peers at different universities as well as from A&O lawyers and professional support staff.

“I want to express my gratitude to the A&O team for all that you did for us,” says a student on the Smart Start Johannesburg programme. “The Smart Start experience was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Based on the success of the programme in India and South Africa, the Smart Start Programme was also launched in Hong Kong. Students from Hong Kong’s Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College and Caritas Tuen Mun Marden Foundation Secondary School spent two days attending a training programme run by volunteers and a commercial client to help improve their business and soft skills. The programme included workshops on preparing a CV, handling a job interview, persuasive writing and effective networking.

Students also took part in a presentations skills workshop, at the end of which they delivered a presentation to a local NGO, HandsOn Hong Kong, on how young people can use their time and skills to volunteer in the community. The idea with the most impact from the Smart Start students will be implemented within the charity, which will also be shared with other NGOs.

“I was confused and afraid to do certain things, but now I don’t have any problems as the Programme taught me a lot,” says a student on the Smart Start Hong Kong programme. “I want many students to join this Programme to learn more about their future.”

16 first-year undergraduates from universities in South Africa attended the programme.

If you would like to find out about future plans for Smart Start International please contact sue.wisbey@allenovery.com

The international Smart Start programmes are aimed at providing necessary career building skills to students from under represented backgrounds.

A&O held its first international Smart Start Experience in India, in collaboration with the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) project. IDIA identifies candidates with potential from marginalised and under-represented backgrounds and introduces them to law as a career option.

The students spent two days with A&O lawyers, local university professors and IDIA volunteers refining their business and soft skills, including presentation techniques, interview style and persuasive writing.

“Without any doubt I can say it is the greatest experience I have had in my professional life,” says a student on the Smart Start India programme. “I would like to thank Allen & Overy for conducting such an important workshop for IDIA scholars.”

Smart Start International programme for 17 students at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

In the same year, the Smart Start programme was launched in Johannesburg in South Africa. The programme provided bright and enthusiastic students with an opportunity to interact and learn from their peers at different universities as well as from A&O lawyers and professional support staff.

“I want to express my gratitude to the A&O team for all that you did for us,” says a student on the Smart Start Johannesburg programme. “The Smart Start experience was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Based on the success of the programme in India and South Africa, the Smart Start Programme was also launched in Hong Kong. Students from Hong Kong’s Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College and Caritas Tuen Mun Marden Foundation Secondary School spent two days attending a training programme run by volunteers and a commercial client to help improve their business and soft skills. The programme included workshops on preparing a CV, handling a job interview, persuasive writing and effective networking.

Students also took part in a presentations skills workshop, at the end of which they delivered a presentation to a local NGO, HandsOn Hong Kong, on how young people can use their time and skills to volunteer in the community. The idea with the most impact from the Smart Start students will be implemented within the charity, which will also be shared with other NGOs.

“I was confused and afraid to do certain things, but now I don’t have any problems as the Programme taught me a lot,” says a student on the Smart Start Hong Kong programme. “I want many students to join this Programme to learn more about their future.”

16 first-year undergraduates from universities in South Africa attended the programme.

If you would like to find out about future plans for Smart Start International please contact sue.wisbey@allenovery.com