London — Mayer Brown was highly commended in the Education and Training Initiative of the Year category for its Articled Apprenticeship programme at last night's British Legal Awards.

The six-year legal apprenticeship programme, which combines part-time study and work, was introduced in September 2015 in partnership The University of Law. Mayer Brown is the first law firm in the City of London to offer the innovative programme, which provides an alternative and direct route to qualification as a solicitor.

Commenting on the result Annette Sheridan, Global Chief HR Officer at Mayer Brown, said: "This programme is part of our broader diversity strategy which looks to create a Mayer Brown of the future that not only more accurately reflects the diverse social and economic backgrounds of our clients, but provides opportunity to some of the best and brightest who might be dissuaded from pursuing a legal career by various adverse factors."

"I am delighted that the programme has been highly commended by these awards and hope we will see many more apprenticeships offered across the sector in the coming years."

Alan Woods OBE, Director of Apprenticeships and Vocational Education at the University of Law (ULaw), commented: “All of us at ULaw were delighted with Mayer Brown’s success at the British Legal Awards 2015. Their Articled Apprenticeship programme, delivered in conjunction with ULaw, is part of the big changes afoot in the legal profession around apprenticeships. More and more young people will chose an option of study that has a direct line of sight to a job. We need more law firms and in-house teams to follow Mayer Brown’s lead and participate in the apprenticeship revolution that is sweeping the UK.”

The annual British Legal Awards showcase the achievements of the UK's legal sector. They are hosted by Legal Week in association with The City of London Law Society.