Clarion is celebrating a successful first year of partnership with Dixons Trinity Chapeltown school in Leeds. Working with Ahead Partnership, the successful law firm has delivered a bespoke programme of activities over the last nine months designed to help enable students to fulfil their potential, as part of the business’ ongoing commitment to making a positive contribution to local communities and championing diversity and inclusion.
Currently with around 700 pupils aged between four and 16, Trinity Chapeltown offers a curriculum and approach designed specifically to serve the community of Chapeltown and Harehills. It has a culture with excellence at the core and is committed to creating a world-class school which will transform the lives of every child who attends by creating equality of opportunity. Established just five years ago, the school was judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in November 2021.
Emma Lowe, legal director at Clarion, who is leading the initiative, said: “As a firm, we’re keen to give back to local communities and wanted to build a long-term relationship with a school in Yorkshire where we felt our team could play a real role in inspiring and empowering pupils to achieve their potential. Clarion has been involved in various activities through Ahead Partnership since 2011 and we are now very much looking forward to focusing our efforts on supporting Dixons Trinity Chapeltown in particular into the future – a school that we feel has values aligned to our own.
“We’re working with Ahead Partnership and the school’s careers leader to create a bespoke activities programme that will have a meaningful impact on their students, with activities that will develop confidence and employability skills and in turn enable them to act upon their aspirations. Critically, our programme’s sole intention is not just to promote careers within the legal profession, but to help students unlock their potential, whatever that may be, and improve social mobility as a consequence. We want to build a long-lasting partnership with Dixon’s Trinity Chapeltown that will continue for many years to come, and hope that this work will help support and benefit the lives of many students as a result.”
Ash Jacobs, Vice Principal at Dixons Trinity Chapeltown, adds: “We’re thrilled to be working with Clarion whose culture fits so well with our own approach – we both believe that it’s about being values driven, having a clear vision, focusing relentlessly on results and building strong relationships at all levels. This partnership will give our pupils exposure to a wide range of careers, including those in professional services, increasing their understanding of the breadth of jobs and learning opportunities open to them.”
Already, the Leeds law firm has undertaken a number of activities from providing judges for a public speaking competition run by the school to delivering interview preparation workshops for pupils and then following up with mock interviews. It has also launched a book donation project and has given the school books by award-winning Manchester barrister Sally Penni MBE, who spoke at a Clarion event last October as part of Black History Month. During June, the Clarion team worked alongside the school’s PE department and ran an exercise workshop that tied in with a firm-wide health and fitness initiative that it was running. A number of colleagues also took part in a careers fair at the school.
In addition, over the course of the academic year, Clarion has welcomed a number of students from years 9 and 10 into their offices to, amongst other things, meet the team, speak at firm wide events and take part in tailored activities.
Megan Lipp, head of business development at Ahead Partnership, which has been working with the school since 2019 and is working with Clarion to design and deliver this social value programme, said: “We are so grateful to Clarion for making this long-term commitment to working with Dixons Trinity Chapeltown to inspire and support their students.
“We know that engaging young people around careers and skills from school-age and helping them to make connections with a professional network can have significant impact, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work in partnership to develop students’ confidence and guide them in thinking about the career and learning opportunities available to them after school. It is especially important that young people get these experiences with employers after successive periods of lockdown. It is predicted that the achievement gap between lower income areas and their wealthier peers could be as large as 75% as a result of the pandemic, so being able to ask business volunteers their questions and learn about the working world directly is a really tangible and effective way for employers like Clarion to prepare young people for a post-Covid world.”
For the last 15 years, Ahead Partnership has been helping businesses of all sizes and sectors to deliver social value projects that overcome inequality, promote opportunity and deliver positive change within society.