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Dolapo Kunle-Ajayi, one of the many people who have found success thanks to the Open Door programme

Council scheme helps legal eagle Dolapo land dream job

Hundreds of people are getting their foot on the career ladder thanks to a work experience programme delivered by Staffordshire County Council.

Dolapo Kunle-Ajayi from Stafford is the latest person to benefit from the scheme having landed her dream job in the council’s legal department.

Dolapo did a series of twelve-week Open Door work placements before securing her position as a Legal Support Assistant. Dolapo said:

“As a legal practitioner who had recently relocated to the UK from Nigeria, I knew there were steps I needed to take to qualify to practice in my new country of residence, either as a Barrister or a Solicitor.

“A friend suggested that I try out the council’s Open Door programme, and I was over the moon when I got a mail confirming a start date. While on the work placements I got the opportunity to build on my knowledge of the UK legal system and laws, whilst supporting the team of solicitors and paralegals. I also got the chance to use new research tools, and to go on some training courses.

“When a position came up within the legal department, I was able to apply using the experience and skills gained on my placement and after the interview process was delighted to be offered the job.

“I love my job and I feel at home with a great team. I would definitely encourage people to try out the Open Door programme. It’s a great way of getting your career started.”

The Open Door programme, which was introduced in 2009, helps prepare people for the world of work by offering them a twelve week work experience placement. Over 1,100 people from across the county have already benefited from the programme so far.

The scheme provides work placements within council departments and external organisations depending on the candidates preferred area of work. During the placement people get valuable work experience which they can put on their CV, a reference from their manager, as well as access to certain training courses. People also get the opportunity to apply for any internally advertised jobs with the council.

Philip White, Cabinet Member for Learning and Employability at Staffordshire County Council said:

“Our Open Door project is a great programme that’s helping people who need that extra bit of support to get into their chosen careers.

“It offers people a voluntary work experience placement within a wide variety of job roles and since launching has already helped over 1,100 people, many of whom have gone into paid employment.”

The programme is available to anyone over 18 but focuses on helping people who face difficulties and barriers in finding work. This could include people with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, children leaving care, school leavers, and graduates.

For further information on the Open Door Staffordshire scheme please contact 01785 854486 or email opendoor@staffordshire.gov.uk