Increased understanding of how to enter different careers


of teachers said it gave significant careers awareness


of volunteers rated the overall experience as excellent


The programme’s general goals include raising awareness among students of the jobs involved in erecting an iconic new building in central Leeds.

This unique initiative also aims to promote equality of opportunity in employment, by providing pupils from social groups under-represented in many relevant roles – as they have traditionally not considered these or thought themselves excluded from them – with knowledge and experience of these careers.


By 2021, we had worked with worldwide law firm DLA Piper’s Global Resource Centre for about eight years as a trusted partner. During that year, the organisation announced a plan to move its 600 Leeds staff from two offices into 83,000 square foot premises at the newly-built, 12-storey City Square House in 2024. This landmark £85m construction, adjacent to the Majestic Building, housing Channel 4’s new headquarters, was a crucial element in the much wider transformation of the gateway City Square, overseen by the local council. Therefore viewing the relocation as more than just a premises move, DLA Piper asked us to design an innovative youth engagement programme, which would showcase the many varied careers contributing to such a vital new development.

Working with multiple stakeholders in City Square House, including building developers MRP and construction consultancy Gardiner & Theobold, as well as DLA Piper, we therefore designed a groundbreaking initiative. This is based on the design, development, and use of the state-of-the-art site, where construction began in May 2021 and is due for completion in the final quarter of 2023.

Image label text, Malesuada Cras Euismod Vehicula Aenean


Accordingly, we designed MyExperience @ City Square House, a three-year initiative, involving five full-day visits to the site by the same 20 students, from Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School, in inner city Leeds.

We ensured participating pupils were aged 11 or 12, and thus in year seven, when the programme began in March 2023, as they would choose their GCSE subjects shortly after its conclusion and taking part would enable them to do so armed with the maximum knowledge of relevant career opportunities.

The three-year timescale and involving the same students throughout the programme would also enable us to maximise the number of contacts between the young people and employers. We were mindful that, according to the Education & Employers Taskforce, ensuring a school pupil experiences four encounters with employers reduces their risk of future unemployment by 86 per cent, for example.

We’ve split the programme into three modules, with the emphasis on sustainability throughout its delivery. All the modules provide students with the chance to apply and develop skills like teamwork, communication and design or methodical thinking, through hands-on tasks and challenges. Each module also supplies a chance for students to explore the world of work by learning directly from professionals.


  • Module one introduces pupils to the early stages of a major development project. It educates and informs them about roles and opportunities associated with the scheme’s design and building, particularly structural engineers, architects, construction workers, foremen, surveyors, and procurement professionals.
  • Module two covers the construction’s middle phase. It spotlights careers and skills related to the fit-out and internal appearance, such as interior designers, electricians, joiners, landscape architects, security staff and office managers.
  • Module three relates to the final construction stage and occupancy stages. It highlights roles and opportunities within DLA Piper, such as those in the law, finance, information technology, accounts, human resource management, marketing, and sustainability.



The programme’s detailed timetable includes:

  • July 2022 – Initial planning
  • March 2023 – Event one: Launch at DLA Piper
  • Sept 2023 – Event two: The office of the future and interior design
  • March 2024 – Event three: Fit out and project management
  • September 2024 – Event four: Personal Skills and introduction to careers at DLA Piper
  • March 2025 – Event five: Finale and celebration event at DLA Piper’s new offices
  • April 2025 – Student focus group and the end of the programme.


After the launch event, feedback we received included:

  • From students

95 per cent said their understanding of how to enter different careers had increased.

95 per cent said attending had helped them to think about their goals after school.

90 per cent said they had developed their skills in representing themselves.

89 per cent said the event developed their teamworking skills.

88 per cent said they were now motivated to work harder at school.

83 per cent said the event had improved their self-belief and confidence.

  • From employee volunteers

85 per cent of volunteers said that the programme significantly allowed them to positively role model the world of work for young people.

This multi-year programme allows us to engage with young people in our local area, providing multiple opportunities for engagement, so they gain a good understanding of the various career paths in professional firms, whilst building confidence, employability skills and career aspirations

Ruth Williamson, Partner, DLA Piper

Explore more

Get in touch

Talk to us about your ESG goals and how we can assist in achieving them.
Get in touch

Or call on
0300 124 0496