London — The London office of global law firm Mayer Brown today announced that it has launched an apprenticeship scheme for school leavers. The apprenticeship programme, which launched in August, provides young people with a paid one year placement into a Business Services department in the London office. Throughout their placement year, apprentices will develop their skills through formal and on the job training. They will also receive the same staff benefits as other employees in the office.

Mayer Brown launched the apprenticeship programme in partnership with City Gateway, who have access to candidates interested in work placements. Successful apprentices will be expected to work a four-day week and will spend one day working towards a formal qualification at City Gateway. In August, Mayer Brown recruited its first apprentice, Ashley Elliot, into the Business Development & Marketing department. A further two apprentices are being recruited into Information Centre and Facilities departments.

Ashley Elliott, 18, said: “I was really excited when I got the apprenticeship at Mayer Brown and to have an opportunity to start my working life and build a career. In my first few weeks I’ve already been able to feel like part of the team and I’m learning more and more everyday.”

Commenting on the apprenticeship programme, Sean Connolly, Senior Partner at Mayer Brown, said: "Many bright young people are turning to programmes such as ours as an alternative to university in order to develop their workplace skills. Apprenticeships haven't traditionally been associated with law firms but I am encouraged by the growing number of apprentices that are now being recruited. We need to expand access to opportunities across the sector in order to appeal to the widest pool of talent and our programme gives young people an opportunity to focus on their vocational training, while developing their career."

Eddie Stride, CEO of City Gateway, said: “It is fantastic that we are able to develop our partnership with Mayer Brown to create some exciting opportunities in an industry not traditionally associated with apprenticeships, at a time when young people are finding it increasingly hard to secure that first step into sustainable employment. We are excited by the life changing opportunities on offer and look forward to working closely with Mayer Brown to see young people take hold of these opportunities and develop long and successful careers as a result.

"We hope this will also help encourage other legal firms to follow this great example and create more apprenticeships within their companies so that together we can help tackle the depressing landscape of growing youth unemployment in London and across the UK.”

Mayer Brown has a long standing relationship with City Gateway and in addition to the apprenticeship programme the firm has worked with the charity to provided interview and CV workshops for young people.