Bosses at an Oxford law firm have pledged to give youngsters from poorer backgrounds better quality work experience.

Blake Lapthorn, based at Seacourt Tower, Botley, has joined PRIME, a profession-wide commitment to ensure pupils have a clear insight into the range of jobs available and how to find them.

The firm will provide an agreed number of work experience places that meet a series of minimum standards. It must provide a number of places not less than half of the number of training contracts offered each year with at least 30 hours of work experience offered per place provided.

And skills such as written and oral presentation must be developed along with networking and negotiation.

Financial assistance must be offered during the programme and the firm also has to offer a way for the student to stay in touch after the work experience has finished.

Alistair Gray, human resources and administration director at Blake Lapthorn, said: “By committing to the principles of open access to legal careers we have the very best chance of recruiting and retaining the best people.

“This commitment builds upon all that we aim to do in our recruitment activity which starts with quality work experience placements for graduates and school leavers. We rely a great deal on our relationships with schools and colleges to recruit a number of modern apprentices each year.

“Adapting our activities further to ensure we meet our commitment to PRIME is something we are very keen to do.”

Blake Lapthorn is one of 23 firms across the UK to sign up to the initiative with the target being to provide 2,500 places by 2015.