International law firm DLA Piper, in collaboration with DLA Piper Africa, Kenya has today announced the pre-launch of Head Start Africa (HSA) (with its official launch taking place in July 2022), its programme aimed at increasing access to and diversity within the legal profession, and professional services more generally. It follows successful launches of the programme in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and China.
According to Universities, Employability and Inclusive Development (a 3-year British Council research report on the educational outcomes and employability skills of young people from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds) students in Africa face a myriad of challenges when pursuing tertiary education and professional careers. Some of these challenges include insufficient or limited funding for their studies, limited opportunities to develop soft and life skills as well as disparities in accessibility for women and people living with disabilities. As part of DLA Piper’s global initiative, HSA will help address such challenges and support students from lower-socioeconomic backgrounds who have traditionally experienced barriers to pursuing tertiary education and a career in law. It will do this by providing long-term, high-quality mentoring, employability skills training, work placement opportunities, resilience and leadership development and financial support towards university education.
DLA Piper Africa, Kenya (IKM) will partner with and co-opt its clients and other strategic partners to ensure that the programme provides a holistic approach. HSA will be piloted in Kenya and thereafter launched in other DLA Piper Africa countries.
James Kamau, Chair of DLA Piper Africa and the Managing Partner at DLA Piper Africa, Kenya said: “The Head Start Africa programme will help address some of the challenges that face the young people of today and provide them with a launchpad to the type of meaningful opportunities that traditionally they would not have had access to. In collaboration with our clients and like-minded partners, this will include exposure to practical work experience and to peer and professional networks that will provide the support and mentorship that will transform them into impactful leaders of tomorrow.”
Clementine Johnson, Head of Social Impact, DLA Piper said: “Head Start Africa, Kenya is about supporting talented students, who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, to help them define and reach their educational and professional goals. Beyond the impact we have on the individuals, this programme also challenges us as a business to recruit, nurture and retain diverse talent. We are thrilled to launch Head Start in Kenya and look forward to working with our clients and community partners to deliver long-lasting impact.”
Peter Otero, PR Manager