London — At this year's celebratory event for the Lord Mayor's Dragon Awards, Mayer Brown won a prestigious award for its pioneering partnership with London refugee charity, Breaking Barriers.

The Inclusive Employment Award was presented to Mayer Brown for working with Breaking Barriers to spearhead the launch of an innovative Employment Academy dedicated to providing skills training and employment opportunities for refugees in the UK.

Commenting on the award win, Mayer Brown Senior Partner, Sally Davies said: "What a tremendous honour it is to win this award but I must say, the real credit should go to Breaking Barriers, the charity's CEO Matthew Powell and his team, who work tirelessly to provide solutions to the unique challenges that refugees in London face when seeking employment. They deserve a fresh start and the Employment Academy helps them to achieve one. We are proud of both our involvement with this project and its growing success."

In November 2016, Mayer Brown became the first organisation partner on the Employment Academy programme when its London office employed a refugee from Iraq on a six-month work placement. The firm now hosts a refugee on a paid work placement twice a year and helps Breaking Barriers to deliver employment skills training. The programme has proved to be extremely successful and over 70 percent of those who complete a work placement are now in permanent employment.

More than 50 people from Mayer Brown have participated in the refugee employability workshops delivered by the Academy, which cover a range of skills, including interviews techniques and CV writing. In addition, the firm's participation in the programme has also served as a valuable recruitment catalyst for other corporate partners and Mayer Brown's clients, who also help to deliver training and provide employment opportunities for refugees.

The Lord Mayor's Dragon Awards were introduced in 1987 to recognise excellence in companies' corporate community involvement that benefits Greater London. The coveted awards are hosted annually by the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House.