A day at the office for students from The Boxing Academy

27 August 2014

Earlier this summer, seven students from The Boxing Academy came to spend a day at Kingsley Napley’s offices in Farringdon.  The Boxing Academy is one of the three charities Kingsley Napley (KN) employees have elected to support over a two year period. 

I went to visit The Boxing Academy, based in Hackney, back in January with another CSR committee member, Katie Allard.  The Boxing Academy offers an alternative education pathway for students between the ages of thirteen and sixteen who are at risk of educational exclusion. The director, Anna Cain, showed us round, introduced us to some of her staff and students, and talked us through what The Boxing Academy do. Anna said that while financial support was of course always appreciated, it would be great if we could do something directly with their students as they try to encourage them  to develop an understanding of how life after school works, from dealing with their own money, to thinking about industries and job opportunities. Inspired by this, we invited a class from The Boxing Academy to come and spend the day with us at KN.

As this was a first for us, it was a little daunting trying to pitch the right note, but we wanted to show them what an office environment looks and feels like, how a law firm operates, and to highlight all the different roles that make up a law firm. The aim was not to necessarily inspire them to become lawyers (although that would be a bonus) but to give them an insight into all the different departments here at KN, how we all work together, and the strange and wonderful routes people took to get here.

First up, a few volunteers from across the firm came to speak to the students and give a short talk about how they got to their current job, what they do now etc. We had a completely diverse group of volunteers: guys from the post room; a solicitor who grew up in Hackney, our debt collector who has been with us for 13 years, legal secretaries, a trainee solicitor, a manager from IT, and representatives from our HR and marketing teams. It was great to see people we work with every day open up to the students, share their own experiences and offer some words of wisdom. There were also some colourful stories from people’s time at school!  The students then went on a tour of the building. Apparently they were most fascinated with the amount of paper we have and the sheer number of computers throughout the office.
After lunch, the HR team ran a workshop for the students on CVs and interview techniques. When I popped down at the end, everyone was very engrossed and confidently whizzing through the quiz the HR team had prepared. The students were all really keen to hold onto the worksheets HR had provided with one saying confidently ‘this will be really useful in the future’.

Apparently, the students were talking about the day all the way back to the academy on the bus, which never normally happens! I know that we were all really glad to meet some of the students, who were all energetic and chatty, and to get a clearer feel for the work the charity does every day.

In return, there has been talk of getting some of us down to the Academy for some sparring (which I’m sure would make a hilarious spectator sport) and we hope to run some more workshops with our HR team. Overall, I think the day was a huge success, and hopefully it will give us the confidence to work more closely with and provide similar opportunities for the other charities we support moving forward.

Choosing the charities KN supports

KN’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) committee asks all employees at KN for nominations for charities to support every two years. The main requirement is that the person nominating has a personal connection to the charity. The CSR committee then reviews the nominations and vote, choosing the top three to be KN’s charities for the next two years. The charities all receive a lump sum each year, but are also supported throughout the two year period by other activities. Bake sales are always popular at KN, but recently we have also held an indoor mini-carnival, with games provided by one of our charities, Reach Out, and a silent auction, with various prizes donated by firm members. See our community page for further information.

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