Name of Company:Trowers & Hamlins
Programme Name:East Potential Routes to Work Scheme
Staff in London:442
Trowers & Hamlins has worked with East Potential, on its Routes to Work Scheme since 2004. East Potential is an East London charity that provides accommodation, training and employment opportunities. Through Routes to Work, a scheme that gives local residents the opportunity to try a new career path through work experience, Trowers & Hamlins run 12 two week work placements each year which offer a broad range of office experience from secretarial duties through to more specialist administrative responsibilities.
Learners often lack confidence and discipline, have poor communication skills and have little awareness of workplace culture. Work placements give attendees the chance to develop these skills and more, and to build positive relationships with employees. Every attendee is allocated a mentor to assist their development. At the end of the two weeks, they attend an appraisal conducted by someone senior in HR, with their mentor also present. This is a two way process so that as well as helping them by assessing performance and providing constructive feedback and advice for the future, Trowlers & Hamlins are able to learn what they enjoyed and what they did not, and where appropriate, make changes to future placements.
Since 2004, Trowers & Hamlins have run 47 work placements. Through these placements Trowers & Hamilins themselves have recruited 13 people.
"I enjoyed the fact I was actually learning on the placement. I was fully expecting to be sitting at a desk for 2 weeks browsing the internet and answering the phone. I was gratefully surprised."
- Danny, Trowers & Hamlins IT Department.
The project is run by the Deputy Head of HR and members of her team. Senior Partners are involved in communications, training, and in the interview process. There have been approximately 15 members of staff involved as mentors since 2004, each being available for four weeks annually to work with learners.
The scheme is discussed monthly at CSR committee meetings, chaired by the Senior Partner and attended by five other partners, as well as senior and junior members of support staff. The Deputy Head of HR holds periodic review meetings with staff recruited via East Potential to gauge their views on how Trowers & Hamlins' involvement with the organisation can be improved.
As a direct result of commencing employment with Trowers & Hamlins, 6 employees have been able to prove they are financially independent and consequently have moved out of the supported accommodation provided by East Potential, and into flats/houses in the East London area.
The Routes to Work Scheme means the difference between dependence and independence - both financially and living. It also provides a sense of purpose, value and confidence to individuals who might otherwise not have that feeling. Trowers & Hamlins' project has also enabled their existing staff to work with people that perhaps they might ordinarily have not worked with and in doing so, has improved the diversity of the organisation.
"Trowers & Hamlins is an exceptional partner on the Routes to Work programme. Not only do they offer cyclical work experience, which is critical to the success of the scheme, the firm quite often offers employment to the best candidates.
The commitment of the Trowers & Hamlins staff team, at all levels of the law firm, has been outstanding.
The partnership with the firm has grown significantly over the years and we are delighted that as a result of the work placements Trowers & Hamlins now offer a legal secretarial programme to East Potential candidates who want to go on and achieve further qualifications, whilst in employment at Trowers & Hamlins."
- Kate Chester, Head of Community Training at East Potential