When Rahat walked across the outdoor fountain towards Sidley Austin, he turned to his Dad and said he thought it looked “very fancy” and that he felt very nervous about the day ahead. He needed lots of reassurance to go into the building. Later that morning, Rahat’s Dad explained how thrilled he had been to see his son chatting away happily to Sidley Austin employees and asking lots of questions. He said the day was “truly eye-opening”, showing the different routes his son could take to get a good job.
Aspiration days make a huge difference to families like Rahat and his Dad. Beforehand Rahat, along with many of the other children and parents, had never stepped foot inside a corporate environment. Many of them felt apprehensive. It was down to Sidley Austin to show that a law firm in the City is a place that they can aspire to work. Employees across the firm did a stellar job with Lucy Slater, Human Resources Adviser at Sidley Austin, helping to facilitate a fantastic morning.
The ice-breaker – building a tower out of paper clips and paper – went down very well and caused lots of laughter when the paper towers all started to collapse. Feeling far more at ease, the children and parents were then joined by employees, who talked to them about their personal experiences of work. It was really helpful for the children to hear from a diverse range of employees, from an IT manager who started working in the mailroom, to a lawyer who went through a more traditional university route. The group then toured the offices and were very impressed by the gym and other facilities on site.
The morning came to a close with an amazing lunch full of treats – the pancakes were a special highlight. Over the meal, more Sidley Austin employees gave up their time to come and talk to the group. On one table, they got more than they bargained for as they were quizzed on algebra and the repercussions of Brexit! It was so clear how much more comfortable the children and parents felt than at the start and when the children were asked whether they might like to work somewhere like Sidley Austin, the response was unanimously positive.
Eden Tadesse, the SHS practitioner accompanying the group, explained how pleased she was that several of the fathers had joined for the trip, as fathers can often be harder to engage. She said: “We are so grateful for this opportunity and our children are so happy”.
“Everyone was really kind and in some environments people aren’t very friendly. It was really special”. – Atina, Year 6 pupil
“I really enjoyed talking to the staff, taking the tour of the building and the food was just delicious. It taught me to not give up”. – Khadija, Year 6 Pupil
“The staff talked about how they tried hard to get their role”. Khadija, Year 6 Pupil
“Thank you for telling us all the interesting information about working in a law company and about Sidley”. – Saad, Year 6 pupil
“Thank you for answering our questions – we learnt lots of things”. – Lamine, Year 6 Pupil
Thank you to everyone at Sidley Austin for your involvement – we are excited to build our partnership together, helping children and families access educational opportunities to improve their life chances.