by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

Allen & Overy (A&O) has announced it will provide 45 bursaries over the next three years in a new initiative with Queen’s University Belfast. It underlines A&O’s commitment to helping young people reach their full potential by removing barriers to education.



As a member of the Bright Future Collective, A&O will contribute to the University’s Pathway Opportunity Programme Bursary Fund, an initiative which offers students from disadvantaged backgrounds support to access a world class education from Queen’s University Belfast.
Andrew Wilson, Senior Associate, Allen & Overy Belfast, comments: “At Allen & Overy, we believe in giving everyone a fair chance. Not everyone has the same opportunities in life, or the same access to education, but our backgrounds should not define our future success.
“We believe that by working together, we can make a significant contribution and help to change the lives of young people. We look forward to working with those students who could be under-represented and supporting them during their time at Queen’s University. The bursaries will enhance the university experience and encourage students to help Northern Ireland thrive in the future.”
Allen & Overy currently employs over 600 staff at its Belfast office and has a long tradition of investing in young talent and nurturing careers. A number of initiatives are already in place in Belfast including an Apprenticeship Scheme, a Graduate Programme, a Postgraduate Diploma with education partners, together with offering their Legal Professionals career pathways to legal qualification as Chartered Legal Executives and Solicitors. Being a member of the Bright Future Collective gives potential for the A&O team to progress workplace visits and projects as well as mentoring and personal skills development with bursary recipients over the next three years.
Professor Ian Greer, Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, comments: “The Pathway Opportunity Programme has made a huge difference to hundreds of talented young people, who are least likely to attend higher education, because of their background. For many of these students, living expenses can become the major barrier to their success.
“The Bright Future Collective will help us to create life changing opportunities for determined young students. The initiative is a shining example of what can be achieved when industry and higher education work together for the economic benefit of the region and beyond – the benefits to wider society are immeasurable.”
Michelle Edwards is a Queen’s Law student and a Pathway Opportunity Programme participant. She says: “University had always been a dream of mine but living in an area of socio-economic deprivation, I had always been doubtful of how that dream could be financially attainable. Thanks to the Pathway Opportunity Programme and the generous bursary it provided me with, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. My first year of university was not filled with anxiety over my finances, allowing me to concentrate on my studies and enjoy my time at university. 
“The experiences that I gained through the Pathway Opportunity Programme are ones that I will draw upon throughout my education, career and further afield.”
Allen & Overy’s Belfast office opened in 2011. It is the second largest office in the A&O network by headcount, employing over 600 people. It includes a Support Services Centre which delivers business services – Document & Design, Finance, Human Resources, IT, Library & Information and Marketing & Business Development – to the firm’s global network. Through the Advanced Delivery Legal function, Allen & Overy Belfast is also at the forefront of delivering legal services to clients in new and flexible ways, with proportionate lower-cost, tech enabled resourcing and end-to-end managed legal services.  

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Andrew Wilson, Senior Associate, Allen & Overy and Michelle Edwards, law student, Queen’s University Belfast.

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