First year skills development initiative

The first year skills development initiative is a week-long work experience programme for single honours law undergraduates at the following universities: University of Bedfordshire, University of East Anglia, University of Greenwich, University of Kent, London South Bank University, University of West London and University of Worcester.

The programme is an excellent opportunity to develop the main skills and competencies we assess throughout our vacation scheme application process. It gives you the opportunity to experience working life and culture at a commercial law firm.

Applications open: February 2024

Applications close: TBC

Scheme dates

  • Monday 12 - Friday 16 August

During the first year skills development week, you take part in:

  • a negotiation exercise;
  • a series of skills workshops including commercial awareness, presentation and negotiation skills;
  • an application skills workshop;
  • a group project and presentation;
  • lunch with associates and trainees;
  • speed networking with all our practice areas; and
  • work shadowing a trainee.

The group project enables you to develop your commercial awareness, research and presentation skills, while working with others on the programme.

You leave the programme with a thorough understanding of the skills needed to succeed in your application for a vacation scheme or training programme. Please note: if you take part in our first year skills development initiative, you cannot apply for our first year insight scheme.

Macfarlanes’ First Year Skills Development Initiative was an invaluable experience that exposed us to the workings of a city law firm. We were taught the necessary skills to succeed within a legal career and were able to build on them in a friendly, encouraging and supportive environment.
Phoebe Beresford-Hough First Year Skills Development Initiative Participant 2022