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Gemma Goes Back To School To Boost Students' Skills!

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One of Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors’ has ‘gone back to school’ to help inspire and advise students aspiring to a career in the legal field – and joined one of Middlesbrough’s most famous daughters in doing so!

Gemma Smith, a solicitor in Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s Commercial Litigation department, joined a number of regional business people who turned mentor for a day at Middlesbrough’s Macmillan Academy. It was part of their Skills Boost event for Year 12 pupils from the academy and other nearby schools and colleges.

The event was the brainchild of School Governor, former pupil and BBC Breakfast Business Correspondent, Steph McGovern.  Steph masterminded the event, coaching the students on interview skills and job applications before inviting in over 100 local business people so that the students could put their new found skills to the test.

Gemma Smith was one of those who spoke to dozens of students in a ‘Career Speed Dating’ session, where the students were given a few minutes with as many different business people as possible to learn more about the breadth of careers available.  She went on to conduct a number of mock interviews with the students who had spent the previous day practising the relevant skills.

Gemma commented: “We hear so much criticism of young people not being prepared for the world of work and not being employable.  However, this event was inspiring and encouraging.  The young people were confident, eloquent and well-prepared.  They were eager to learn about work in a law firm.  At the end of each mock interview, we were asked ‘would we employ the interviewee’ and many times the response was an enthusiastic ‘yes’.  It was a real pleasure and an inspiration to spend time in Macmillan Academy.  Credit must go to Steph McGovern for her dedication and hard work and obviously to the young people too for their ambition and determination.”

She went on to add: “The whole morning was extremely enjoyable and very interesting. The students were all enthusiastic and willing to engage. I interviewed a number of them who I considered to be outstanding and are likely to go on to carve a successful legal career if they so wish. It was also nice to give something back and feel like you were genuinely helping those students along their career paths.