Wednesday, 30 July 2014

New apprenticeship scheme boost for young Leeds legal talent

Caption: Apprentice legal executive Holly Buxton hopes more young people will get new opportunities thanks to the Leeds Legal Apprenticeship Scheme.

A NEW apprenticeship scheme is set to give Leeds’s fledgling legal eagles the chance to launch their careers with some of the city’s prestigious law firms.

The Leeds Legal Apprenticeship Scheme has seen Leeds City Council team up with BPP Professional Education and the Financial and Business Services network in a bid to give talented young people a chance to learn on the job from top legal professionals.

The scheme was launched at an event in Leeds which was attended by local companies, training providers and young apprentices.

Among them was 20-year-old Holly Buxton, who is almost two years into her apprenticeship with Leeds-based Gordons LLP and who spoke at the launch.

Apprentice legal executive Holly said she hoped the scheme would see more local firms giving young people an alternative way into the industry.

She said: “When I finished my A Levels, I knew I wanted to go into law and I’d applied to university and got my offers.

“But when I found out I could do an apprenticeship and start with a firm straight away, I knew that was exactly what I was looking for.

“Instead of spending years in lectures, I was straight in at the deep end, getting real, practical experience working on some big projects and there’s no way I would be doing the work that I’m doing now if I hadn’t done an apprenticeship.”

She added: “When people think of apprenticeships, they probably don’t usually think you can do them in professional or legal jobs like mine.

“But this is a great alternative way of getting into the industry and getting the same level of qualifications while you’re actually working.

“It’s done wonders for my confidence and I hope this scheme gives more people like me a chance to do the same.”

The Legal Apprenticeship Scheme will help other local law firms establish their own apprenticeship programmes then help them to recruit and train young people through different levels of legal qualifications.

Leeds is the country’s largest legal centre outside London and last year 36 per cent of the city’s 6,850 apprenticeships were in business administration and law.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said:

“Leeds is one of the cornerstones of the country’s legal profession, so it’s more important than ever that we have everything we need in place to attract and retain the best talent within that sector.

“This new apprenticeship scheme will give more of our talented young people the opportunity to realise their ambitions and learn the skills they need to take their place alongside the city’s top legal professionals.”

She added: “The traditional perception of apprenticeships is a thing of the past in Leeds.

“Apprenticeships are now a genuine, practical and hugely beneficial route into professional industries and a real opportunity for young people taking their first steps into some exciting and prestigious careers.”

For more details about the Leeds Legal Apprenticeship Scheme, contact Joanna Preston-Taylor at BPP Law School at or Nick Hart at the Leeds Apprenticeship Hub on


For more details, contact:
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937

Champion launches online resource

[Picture caption] Lana Northey receiving her award from Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State for Health

The winner of a prestigious national competition has now launched the enterprise that helped her win.

Lana Northey of Leeds City Council has launched a web resource which helps businesses become more socially responsible after winning the Local Government Association (LGA) Challenge 2013 and claiming a £10,000 Bruce-Lockhart Scholarship.

Thanks to her win people can now visit to find out how businesses, public and third sector organisation can benefit from each other’s skills and resources.

The interactive e-brochure launched at this year's LGA annual conference held in Bournemouth. It is designed to give local councillors and officers the tools they need to promote localised corporate social responsibility (CSR) to businesses.

The e-brochure has three parts. Firstly, a business case for localised CSR. Secondly, exploration of approaches that create long-term partnerships are based on shared values and are investments for both business and community. Finally, a bank of successful case studies from small businesses to large multinationals.

Last year Lana won a closely fought contest between 10 of the leading lights in local government to be declared winner at the LGA annual conference in Manchester. She won over judges with her vision of local authorities promoting CSR to the specific needs of local communities.

Lana used her prize money to attend a CSR course learning from best practice in the USA and Europe attending international conferences in Seattle and Denmark. She also worked alongside leading businesses in the field such as Microsoft and Novo Nordisk a global healthcare company based in Denmark.

Lana Northey, commissioning officer for adult social care at Leeds City Council, said: 

“The LGA challenge has been career changing for me, incredibly challenging but really satisfying and I am grateful to Leeds City Council for being so supportive of me every step of the way.

“Over the past 12 months I’ve heard a lot about how important it is to make sure employees at every level are engaged in CSR. Third sector organisations told me how the most useful support from professionals involves using their professional skills. They would prefer to have an accountant looking over their financial set up rather than reading with children, or a marketing professional helping to develop a marketing strategy rather than painting a fence.

“I would like to say a very sincere thank you to all who have contributed to the development of the CSR plus toolkit. I am really grateful to the businesses and community organisations that opened their doors to me and shared their valuable experiences and insights.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said:

“As a council we are really proud of Lana for winning the Local Government Challenge and going on to develop this brilliant toolkit which will help businesses become more socially responsible.

“We look forward to seeing the toolkit in use, and no doubt as a council we can take some good advice from it too.”


For media enquiries please contact:
Dan Johnson,
Leeds City Council press office, 
Tel 0113 247 5472

Online campaign asks young people ‘Who are you really talking to?’

Caption: One of the images from the new 'Who are you really talking to?' campaign

A new hard-hitting campaign has been launched aimed at preventing children in Leeds from falling prey to online sexual predators posing as someone else.

The ‘Who are you really talking to?’ campaign looks to make young people in Leeds more aware of the dangers of chatting online to people they don't know.

The Leeds Safeguarding Children Board and Leeds City Council have joined forces with West Yorkshire Police to launch the campaign during the school holidays, when more young people are expected to be using social media and internet chat rooms.

An animated image has been developed, which shows a young person talking online to someone who they believe to be their own age.

But the image morphs into an internet troll, representing an individual pretending to be someone else with the intention of online grooming.

Aimed at people aged 13-18, the campaign is part of ongoing efforts to help children and their parents spot the signs of child sexual exploitation and report it as well as being part of the council’s overall commitment to making Leeds a child friendly city.

Jane Held, chair of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board, said:

“With the summer holidays underway, we know that children and young people will be spending more time online, chatting to friends and potentially meeting new people.

“Unfortunately that also means that there is a greater risk of them becoming targets for online sexual predators.

“It is vital that young people are aware that the people they are talking to online may not always be who they say they are.

“Sexual predators are known to use the internet to groom young people, often adopting a persona to gain their victim’s trust.

“This campaign is aimed at providing young people with the important facts and information they need to spot the signs of online grooming and help them to protect themselves. It will also tell them where they can get help and advice if they need it.

“We need to give children and young people the information they need to make informed decisions and stay safe online.”

As well as raising awareness, the campaign tells young people what online grooming is, how to recognise it and provides information about how to surf the web safely.

It also warns against up-loading personal information online, which could identify where youngsters live and how to contact them.

Details will feature on relevant websites across Leeds where children and young people may be looking for things to do over the summer holidays as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Information and advice for children and young people can be found at:


For more details, contact:

Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937