Evaluation of the First Year of PRIME

Caroline Sharp, Gill Featherstone, Clare Southcot, Kelly Kettlewell, Eleanor Stevens

30 November 2012

Executive summary

Improving access to the professions is key to promoting social mobility. The legal profession is an aspirational career for many young people, but it is increasingly difficult for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to access careers in the legal profession. Launched in September 2011, PRIME is a commitment to ensure fair and equal access to quality work experience in the legal profession for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It sets out minimum standards for whom work experience should reach and what it should achieve. NFER is undertaking a robust and independent evaluation of PRIME over the first two years of delivery. This Report presents findings from the first year of PRIME work placements between January and August 2012.

Key Findings

  • Eighty two per cent of students met the PRIME criteria. This means that they attend state schools, are eligible for free school meals or are the first generation in their families to aspire to higher education.
  • The vast majority of students said they were satisfied with their PRIME placement and would recommend it to others (96 per cent).
  • Students felt they had gained a valuable insight into the legal profession, especially through contributing to real tasks or shadowing members of staff.
  • Students’ confidence on a range of skills increased by the end of their placement. Students had also gained a better understanding of the legal profession.
  • Around three quarters (76 per cent) of students said that their placement had made them more likely to want to enter the legal profession.

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