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5 STAR Futures

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DWF 5 STAR Futures is our community education programme with a purpose to enable aspirational young people to unlock their potential by developing their confidence and employability skills to become more work ready. 

It has won awards from Business in the Community, Liverpool Law Society and Manchester Law Society. The purpose of the scheme is to enable aspirational young people to unlock their potential by developing their confidence and employability skills to become more work ready.

5 STAR Futures Workshops

The main part of the programme involves a group of volunteer coaches from DWF going into local secondary schools for workshops each month. The workshops are delivered by volunteers and topics include workplace behaviours, effective communication and resilience. The final session is the Awards Evening where the pupils each give a speech in front of their guests from home, their classmates and their teachers.

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5 STAR Futures

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Opportunities for high school pupils

Eli Kepeva shares their experience of our 5 STAR Futures programme.
Opportunities for high school pupils
"When I first moved to Scotland at 11 years old with little understanding of the language, something like studying law seemed out of reach for me. I put a lot of focus on essay-based subjects such as English and History, and I showed significant progress in my Higher results. In History, I particularly enjoyed that I could collect evidence and put forward a structured argument. I was also very impressed by the trial I witnessed at the High Court- the prosecutor’s ability to persuade the jury left a lasting impression. From there, I researched what extracurriculars were available to me, and I attended a Dialogue Symposium at Gordonstoun School where the challenge was to use my initiative and give my views on modern-day issues such as Brexit. 

"In S6, I was introduced to DWF and the work experience placements they provided for students like myself. I remember being so nervous when I first stepped into the office, but everyone made me feel welcome straight away. I always felt included at DWF and formed great relationships with everyone. I spoke about the excellent opportunities that the 5 STAR Futures Programme offers for high school pupils at a staff meeting which helped me build confidence, and it was a great chance to meet new people in the office and tell them about how much DWF has done for my school. Each week I was assigned to a new department, and by the end of my placement, I felt confident that I would go on to university with plenty of prior knowledge and hands-on experience. I worked closely with some of the trainees, and it was really interesting to hear about their experience at university and what to expect as a first-year student.

"This helped me make my final choice which was the University of Strathclyde for Scots and English Law. What drew me to this course was that it provides knowledge of more than one legal system; therefore, it opens up even more opportunities for the future. I would also love to join the Mooting Society or the Strathclyde Law Clinic and get involved in as many activities as I can to build my skills. I hope I can keep in contact with the 5 STAR team at DWF and hopefully return as a trainee one day. I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support I received by everyone in the office!"

DWF wins BITC reaccreditation for 5 STAR Futures

DWF has been awarded a Certificate of Reaccreditation at Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Awards 2016.

DWF wins BITC reaccreditation for 5 STAR Futures

5 STAR Futures is our award-winning education programme. Hundreds of volunteers from across our business have helped to raise the aspirations of young people in schools local to each of our UK offices by working with them to build their confidence and develop their employability skills.

Our volunteer coaches pass on useful practical skills (like how to cope with public speaking and how to shake hands) while offering insights from their own experience of the world of work (like how their first day in the job went and how they treat others professionally in the workplace). By working with the pupils, and making the workshops come to life using real examples, our coaches have a direct and noticeable impact on the self-efficacy of the pupils.

In 2015, we were finalists for BITC’s Schools Partnership Award and we are pleased to have been accredited again in 2016 for the way in which the programme continues to grow and have a positive impact in our communities.

Sean Monks, Senior Solicitor in the Commercial Insurance department and leader of 5 STAR Futures, said:
“One of the drivers behind setting up 5 STAR Futures was to do something about young people limiting themselves in their life after school: letting their parents’ income predict their outcome. The programme joins up school and business, and gives pupils the confidence they need to start to think bigger about what they want to do in the future. That’s why I’m really happy that we’re now starting to see pupils from the early years of 5 STAR Futures actively considering a career in law and applying to join DWF as part of our Paralegal Trailblazer Legal Apprenticeship scheme.”

If you would like to find out more about 5 STAR Futures, then please contact Sean Monks on 0161 838 0259.

Ark Walworth Academy students celebrate with DWF

DWF London welcomed school staff, friends and family to share in the success of the 5 STAR Futures Class of 2018 from Ark Walworth Academy.

Ark Walworth Academy students celebrate with DWF

DWF London welcomed school staff, friends and family to share in the success of the 5 STAR Futures Class of 2018 from Ark Walworth Academy.

Read the article

All Hallows RC pupils celebrate at 5 STAR awards evening

Legal business DWF welcomed 70 guests from Salford to the awards ceremony for 5 STAR Futures, an award-winning education and employability programme.

All Hallows RC pupils celebrate at 5 STAR awards evening

Through 5 STAR Futures, we aim to enable aspirational young people to build their confidence and gain the employability skills needed for life after education. We partner with schools in areas where there are high levels of unemployment and a large proportion of the residents are not in education, employment or training (NEET). We have been working alongside All Hallows RC High School in Salford for five years and the relationship continues to strengthen, with former pupils now applying for roles within our business as legal apprentices.

The awards evening in March each year is an opportunity for the pupils to demonstrate to their teachers, friends and family how far they have come since starting the six-month programme by delivering a two-minute speech, which for most of the pupils was their first time speaking in front of so many people. Through workshops on confidence and communication, resilience and aspiration, the once-shy pupils develop a sense of self-belief and learn all about the world of work with the help of a broad range of volunteers from across our business – including partners, paralegals, HR professionals, cashiers, trainee solicitors and many more.

Sean Monks, Senior Solicitor in our national Commercial Insurance department, and leader of the programme in Manchester, said: "It is hugely important for businesses like ours to work with schools to make sure that young men and women entering working life have the skills they need to do well. For me, we should all (not just law firms) be putting in the effort to remove any perception that a young person's future is predetermined by what their parents do for a living. I am immensely proud of the work that we do through 5 STAR Futures, and the pupils this year – as in previous years – have been excellent ambassadors for their school and peers.

Gail Taylor, our Diversity & Community Engagement Manager, said: "The speeches from the students were exceptional with all of them saying how much 5 STAR had improved their confidence, raised their aspirations and will hopefully in turn help their GCSE grades. One of the young women unbelievably said, 'It made me feel so much more confident because we made a success wall and I ended up putting things on there that I never believed were that important for example, being able to speak three languages - Portuguese, English and Spanish. I wanted to be part of 5 STAR Futures because of the experience and I really wanted to improve my confidence, which I have achieved.' Sean is a real credit to DWF, as are the rest of the 5 STAR coaches and volunteers."

Speaking about the impact of the programme, Paula McIntosh-Kemp, Business Manager at All Hallows RC, said: "We are delighted to be working with DWF on 5 STAR Futures again this year, our fifth consecutive year. The programme goes from strength to strength and grows in popularity with our students each year continuing to offer them a set of skills that are a necessity as they move on into further education and employment. Our students not only learn to recognise and celebrate their successes but they also grow in confidence and in resilience – vital skills for anyone but particularly for those just about to enter the GCSE phase.

"The time and commitment given by the DWF mentors, led by Sean Monks, is making a real difference for those students who take part. We know that they would join us in offering our thanks for your continued support. We are proud to say we have been involved with the 5 STAR Futures programme since the beginning and we celebrate with DWF the recognition the programme has received over those years. We look forward to working with DWF again next year, and for many years to come."

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