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Irwin Mitchell Hosts Launch Of Competition To Help Sheffield Students ‘Speak Out’

Lawyers Mentor Pupils In City Wide Public Speaking Initiative


Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

Law firm Irwin Mitchell in partnership with Business in the Community hosted the launch of a city wide public speaking competition to help Sheffield school pupils develop skills to help them prepare for their future careers.

On Monday night pupils and teachers from Chaucer School, Fir Vale School, Parkwood Academy, Sheffield Park Academy, and students from Sheffield University attended the ‘Speak Out’ launch at Irwin Mitchell’s city centre headquarters.

The competition, being run by Business in the Community’s (BITC) flagship Education programme Business Class, will see the pupils being paired up with experts from Irwin Mitchell, Carillion plc, DLA Piper, and Lloyds Banking Group as well as student mentors from the University of Sheffield’s Management School to develop and present an idea for what they think the future of legal advice in their community looks like.

The challenge asks students to consider when they might need access to legal advice, where the highest demands for legal advice in the community are, how they can currently access legal advice and preferred ways to access it in the future.

A panel of judges will quiz the pupils on their presentations before deciding which of the five teams has won.

Karen Codling, an Associate Director at Irwin Mitchell, leading the project for the firm, attended the launch.

Expert Opinion
The objective of the competition is to support a group of students and help them develop new and valuable skills, while introducing them to positive role models from the world of higher education and the business community.

Many young people don’t get the support they need in learning about the employment opportunities that will be available to them after school or have the chance to develop the necessary skills and mind sets they’ll need to access them.

We hope that by teaming up with academics, BITC and fellow businesses we can help schools better prepare their pupils’ for employment which will not only help them as individuals but also provide a boost to Sheffield’s future skills pool and economy.
Karen Codling, Associate Director

Michelle Dickinson, from Business in the Community, said: “It is fantastic to see local businesses coming together to ensure young people are provided with an understanding of local career options  and access to the opportunities to recognise and acquire the skills they need to build successful working lives.”

The launch of the competition saw two teams of six pupils from each school meet their business and university mentors for the first time, where they found out their challenge and discussed their initial ideas.

The teams will have to refine their ideas and prepare before the presentation and prize giving later in the year.

During that time the pupils will have six mentoring sessions where they will learn to work as teams, come up with a plan and identify the skills needed to implement it, practice lateral thinking and problem solving, while developing their communication, information sharing and public speaking skills in a competitive context.