We recognise that businesses have a key role to play in tackling barriers to unemployment faced by young people, and that social mobility is an issue within the professional services sector. So, working with a number of community partners, we launched SORTED—a work experience scheme with a difference.
SORTED was created in response to a need first expressed by Tomorrow's People for opportunities for paid work experience for their members. Without work experience, individuals simply weren't getting any opportunities.
Given that some estimates indicate around half of the people working in the legal sector are not legal professionals, we found it striking how few schemes there are aimed at promoting access into Business Operations roles.
Senior Facilities Manager, Pinsent Masons
Our aim is to give people who for whatever reason haven’t had many opportunities in life some experience in a corporate environment, and some self-belief to enable them to get a job. It’s all about giving people a chance – and it pays off.
To address this, we developed SORTED - the Support Services Office-Related Training and Education scheme.
Working with community partners such as the Prince's Trust and Tomorrow's People, SORTED is part of a long-term commitment to help improve the life chances and employment prospects of some of the UK's most vulnerable young people.
Community partners are invited to put forward candidates for the work experience scheme. Once candidates enter the business, they often spend time in each of the firm's Business Operations units (IT, HR, Finance, Business Development, Facilities and Knowledge) to get a feel for the range of careers possible. Some candidates spend more time in the unit they are most interested in pursuing a career in. Most undertake a mix of work-experience in conjunction with some of the training offered by Pinsent Masons through community partners - for instance a CV-drafting skills masterclass.
Each placement is meaningful because it is based on a genuine business need, meaning there is greater possibility of the placement leading to a permanent role.
To date we have supported 30 young people through SORTED and 100% of those who completed the programme have gone into employment, education or training.
Several SORTED candidates have been offered fixed term or full time employment at the firm on completion of the programme.
100% of the young people who have participated in our SORTED programme and responded to our feedback survey felt they had a better understanding of the workplace and were more confident as a result.