Although the 941,000 16-24 year-olds out of work includes almost 300,000 full-time students, the figure is still unacceptably high. Research from the Prince’s Trust this month also found that one in 10 young people thought they had “nothing to live for”.

The Government has implemented a series of campaigns and schemes to help turn the fortunes of young people around, but employers also need to take action. The high turnover of expensive graduate paralegals is affecting client services and the number of training contracts is on the decline. This, along with the fact that one third of the legal workforce will retire or leave over the next 10 years, means that employers need to look at alternative pathways into the sector. We have a formidable track record of providing support to the legal sector, including apprenticeship frameworks, a careers information service, talent attraction and diversity solutions and approaches to aid good governance and board effectiveness.

The Financial and Legal Skills Partnership last year launched a successful programme to equip school leavers with work experience in the financial sector. And after a successful start, including support from some of the UK’s top banks, the Get In Get On programme has now been extended to the legal sector. Backed by Skills Minister Matthew Hancock, the one month programme, which has been funded through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, sees professionals from employers, large and small, acting as e-career mentors. The mentors support and motivate students aged 16-19 wanting to get a head start in their chosen field. Mentees also complete online learning units to help better understand the sector and prepare them for entering the workplace.

The extended scheme has already gained support from Norton Rose Fulbright, Allen and Overy and Ashurst’s in the legal services sector. Each of these firms has agreed to provide at least 10 mentors to help young people in state secondary schools and colleges to develop career management skills.

We’re now calling on firms large and small to “make a difference” and provide e-career mentors to help develop tomorrow’s workforce. Alongside professional careers advice, high quality careers information from people in the industry is paramount to help young people understand the career management skills needed within the world of work.

It’s clear that employers need to forge closer links with schools and colleges, and our programme does exactly that. The new year brings fresh enthusiasm, so I hope firms will commit to investing a relatively small amount of resource and make a big difference.

This is an outcomes based virtual work experience solution centred upon making a measurable difference to social mobility, employability skills development and fair access to the professions. The platform aims to support young people to make realistic career decisions, implement a bespoke career plan, and empower young people to compete in the global job market.

Feedback from our full range of stakeholders, including employers, universities and students, constantly stresses the importance that work experience can make to employability. Our virtual solution is innovative and focused upon being high impact for the student but resource focused for the employer.

It is so inspiring listening to the enthusiasm and commitment of legal colleagues. Their motivation, energy and commitment to wanting to make a difference to young people’s employability skills has been visible at all of the employer briefing sessions. All legal employers, large and small, can play a part in the programme and being virtual the work experience programme is designed to be high impact focused for the mentee whilst using employer resources in a targeted and effective manner.

Supporting each mentee is entirely virtual, likely to be a small investment of between two to four hours per young person and will help fine tune mentoring skills for use back in the workplace.

We’re delivering two-hour e-career mentoring roadshows across England in the coming weeks and months. To find out more about the roadshows and the programme itself, call the Get In Get On team on 020 7367 9542 or email

Sarah Thwaites is Acting CEO of the Financial and Legal Skills Partnership