Girls at a Northampton academy received inspirational careers advice from top female solicitors at law firm Hewitsons.
The five lawyers met with around 30 students at Northampton Academy, joined by a senior female audit manager from professional service company KPMG’s Milton Keynes office.
In groups of three to five, the Year 12 students were able to ask questions of each of the six professionals in turn, in a speed dating style format, with each round lasting eight minutes. Topics included subject choices, university selection, work experience and potential obstacles to career progression.
Many of the 16 and 17-year-olds were particularly drawn to Hewitsons Trainee Solicitor Motunrayo Adeeyo, as she had formerly completed her GCSEs and A-levels at the academy, in Wellingborough Road.
The 23-year-old, who began her traineeship at Hewitsons’ Northampton office in September last year, said: “It was a real privilege and pleasure to spend time with the girls. They seemed really interested and engaged and they asked intelligent questions. I was very impressed.
“I hope they took away the belief that if I can do this, so can they. My main message was to be the best you can be. I told them to listen to teachers’ advice, but also to remember that they know themselves better than anyone else, so they should do whatever they need to do in order to achieve their own dreams. Don’t let anything hold you back.”
The other solicitors included newly qualified Alexandra Svennevik, Katie Wall, a Senior Solicitor, Lynne Adams, an Associate, and Patricia Kempson, a Partner, two of whom were also able to speak about their experience as mothers working in the legal field. Ellie Austin joined the proceedings, giving the girls insight into the world of accounting from a Big 4 perspective.
Trish Kempson, a Partner in the firm’s Real Estate team, said many of the girls had seemed surprised to learn that nearly 70 percent of all legal professionals working across Hewitsons’ offices in Cambridge, London, Milton Keynes and Northampton were women.
She added: “Several of them seemed interested in pursuing a legal career, which was great. We all felt it was important to reassure them that there really is nothing that can stop them if they put their mind to it.”
The day was such a success that the academy – part of the United Learning Group, a charitable organisation and Hewitsons client that owns and operates academies and independent schools across the UK – has asked Hewitsons to run a similar event for its boys.
Following the girls’ event, one student who had attended said: “The tips that everyone gave were very useful and inspirational.”
Another added: “It was so helpful for the future hearing someone else’s life narrative and their hindsight was useful regarding their choice of career.
“I think the way the women here today are paving the way for my generation is great and I’m very grateful.”