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Allen & Overy

Setting the talent management bar high with digital credentials
of participants chose digital credentials in addition to a paper certificate.
of participants felt their credential will help them in the future.
of participants used their credential as part of an application within one month.

How Allen & Overy are responding to industry change with robust and forward thinking strategies.

With a track record in innovation that’s second to none, and an unrivalled level of global reach and local depth, Allen & Overy are setting the benchmark on what law firms will look like in the future, today. An integral part of this is their award-winning work experience programme: Smart Start . Recently awarded with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for ‘Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility’, Smart Start is the only work experience programme in the UK legal sector to be accredited by City & Guilds. This means that all participants who complete the programme gain a formal certificate of achievement in recognition of their learning. Through Smart Start, Allen and Overy actively inspire talented and ambitious young people to consider a career in business; the programme equips students with the skills and beliefs to take their first steps on the career ladder.

“Smart Start is delivered each year by volunteers from A&O and our clients – in 2017, more than 200 people were involved, collectively volunteering nearly 450 hours. The programme’s success is a real team effort.”

Pro Bono & Community Affairs Officer

Equipping participants with the skills and beliefs to take their first steps on the career ladder.

The programme (led by volunteers from Allen & Overy and clients) encapsulates the firm’s leading approach to corporate social responsibility. According to the 2017 State of the Nation Report from The Social Mobility Commission, ‘Careers support is known to improve participation rates for disadvantaged young people who may not have access to informal networks of people who can provide guidance and work experience’. In recognition for their commitment to facilitate positive change in this area, Allen & Overy have also been awarded Community Programme of the Year by the UK Social Mobility Awards.

With the assistance of Digitalme consultancy services , Allen & Overy has been able to further build on its legacy by utilising digital credentials within their Smart Start work experience programme to recognise and celebrate the development of essential soft skills.

These skills include

  • Professionalism
  • Effective Communication
  • Commercial Awareness
  • Personal Development
  • Critical Thinking

Allen & Overy Skills wheel

Bringing work experience into the digital age.

Working with Digitalme, Allen & Overy have been able to make their programme more interactive and more readily accessible. Digital credentials are now in use to support the accredited programme by providing young people with a digital portfolio to start building their online networks. Allen & Overy chose to use the Open Badge Academy as their online digital credentialing platform, and utilised the innovative claim code technology for young people to claim their badges using their own mobile devices during and after completion of the work experience programme. Use of this technology maximised on the social sharing capabilities that digital credentials offer the issuer and the earner. Upon completing the Smart Start program, students were able to share the Allen & Overy branded credential across social media with friends and family, and also within the scope of their LinkedIn profiles.

“They are a great way to recognise my achievements and they are records I can’t lose.”

Smart Start participant
2017 cohort

The Smart Start programme gives real insight into the world of work and helps students learn about the full range of career paths a global business like Allen & Overy has to offer - from being a lawyer, through to a career in IT, Marketing or HR. Allen & Overy introduce students to the skills needed to succeed in each - from analysis and negotiation to presenting and team working - and provide practical support with interview technique, CV writing and how to improve personal impact. Students also learn how to network and build their own contacts at Allen & Overy and with its clients.

The inclusion of digital credentials to the Smart Start training framework has been a great success with full adoption of the credentials as skill and achievement recognition.

The future.

So, what’s next?

The rich data made accessible using credentials is helping Allen & Overy better demonstrate the impact of their programme. Next, they hope to explore how credentials could be used to recognise the achievements of the volunteers that run the Smart Start programme.

Logo for Allen & Overy

Founded in 1930, Allen & Overy is one of the largest international law firms based in London with approximately 5,400 employees, including over 550 partners in 44 offices worldwide. Each summer the firm opens its doors to 200 young people to provide access to a coveted place on their City & Guilds accredited work-experience programme, The Smart Start experience.

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