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Smart Start work experience for Year 12 students

Allen & Overy launched the Smart Start Experience in 2009 with the aim of giving young people facing socio-economic barriers access to high quality work experience in the world of business.

Since its launch, the Smart Start Experience has supported over 1,569 young people. As the recipient of many prestigious awards, the Smart Start Experience was the first work experience scheme in the legal sector to receive City & Guilds accreditation. (Note that City & Guilds will not confirm the programme is Assured until its annual renewal process has been completed after the Smart Start Week has taken place).

In partnership with Causeway Education

We will be partnering with Causeway Education to deliver the Smart Start Experience in July 2022. Causeway Education is a charity which supports young people through key educational transitions.

Applications for Smart Start 2022 are closed

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Smart Start Experience

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The Smart Start Experience

By participating in the Smart Start Experience week, young people gain a real insight into the world of work and learn about the wide range of careers available within an international business such as Allen & Overy. Through a timetable of interactive workshops and team challenges, participants develop the skills necessary to succeed in a professional career, from analysis and negotiation to networking and personal brand. Participants also get to practice using the eight essential skills identified by Skills Builder and receive practical support with interview technique, application writing and improving their personal impact. During the week, successful applicants will also understand the importance of building a network of professional contacts with their fellow Smart Start participants.

The Smart Start Experience week will take place w/c 18 July 2022 at Allen & Overy’s London office. 

New for 2022 - Smart Applications

For the last two years the Smart Start Experience has been delivered online. For 2022, to ensure that students who benefit from an online opportunity do not miss out, Allen & Overy will also be running Smart Applications. Smart Applications allows young people who do not want to travel to London to still access a quality employer programme and gain insights drawn from the Smart Start Experience.

Delivered entirely virtually, Smart Applications provides students the opportunity to gain interview experience, network with employees at Allen & Overy and develop valuable employability skills.

Taking place across 8 live webinars throughout June and July 2022, Smart Applications includes:

  • A&O insight sessions with volunteers from across the firm
  • Support for university and apprenticeship applications
  • The opportunity to have individual feedback on an online mock interview


How to apply


Find out what the requirements are to secure your place on the programme.

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Application process

All applicants need to attend one Smart Choices virtual event before they can apply for the Smart Start Experience week or Smart Applications.

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Smart Start Experience feedback

Hear what past participants and volunteers have to say about their experience.

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Contenuti suggeriti

orange triangle smart start logoThe Queen's awards for enterprise: Promoting opportunity 2017   The Queen's awards for enterprise: Promoting opportunity 2017     PRIME - Fair access to quality work experience logo