Five star opportunity for Academy pupils

Pictured at the first 5 Star Futures event at DWF in Belfast are (from left):  Alice Wright, DWF Law, Cameron Muir, Ballymena Academy, Gail Taylor, DWF's Diversity and Community Engagement Manager, Niamh Watt, Ballymena Academy.
Pictured at the first 5 Star Futures event at DWF in Belfast are (from left): Alice Wright, DWF Law, Cameron Muir, Ballymena Academy, Gail Taylor, DWF's Diversity and Community Engagement Manager, Niamh Watt, Ballymena Academy.

An award-winning education and employability programme delivered by international legal business, DWF is being rolled out across Northern Ireland.

Pupils from Ballymena Academy joined other post primary schools from across the province to attend the first Five Star Futures workshop at DWF’s offices in Belfast where they gained an insight into life in the leading law firm and on topics such as branding and networking.

Aiming to inspire young people by building their confidence and preparing them for life after education, Five Star Futures is a UK-wide initiative developed by DWF as part of its commitment to shaping the workforces of the future.

Speaking at the inaugural session in Belfast, James Morrison, Partner, DWF said: “We are delighted this inspirational programme is now operational in Northern Ireland and welcome the first tranche of students who will benefit from involvement.

“It is vital that businesses such as DWF offer support and guidance to our young people and help cultivate the skills needed for working life.”

Running for the past six years, the programme, which has engaged with schools in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Preston, has been recognised by Business in the Community NI for its impact.

Andrew Wallace, from Business in the Community NI, said: “Business in the Community is passionate about making work experience more meaningful, relevant, and inspiring for young people. DWF’s Five Star Futures workshop does just that and responds to the gap between young people’s expectations of the world of work and business expectations.”

Gail Taylor, DWF’s Diversity and Community Engagement Manager, added: “I never cease to be amazed by the impact of Five Star Futures on the lives of our young people. Their feedback is so positive and their progress in terms of confidence and aspiration, is obvious. We look forward to taking the programme to the next level in Northern Ireland.”

Commenting on the experience, Ballymena Academy pupil Niamh Watt said: “This was a terrific experience as DWF offered us a valuable insight into life in a legal business. It was also very practical as it focused on key skills such as networking and personal branding, which can’t be learnt in the classroom but are of vital importance in working life.”