Almost half of new legal trainees at Big Four accountancy firm PwC are from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds thanks to a diversity programme introduced last year, the firm said today.

From the latest intake of 24 legal trainees, 10 came through the Aspiring Solicitors programme, a social enterprise founded in 2013 which is dedicated to increasing diversity in the law.

The 24 graduates will complete a two-year training programme at the firm after attending law school.

PwC also noted that the number of graduate applicants to its legal summer vacation scheme has more than doubled since partnering with Aspiring Solicitors last year. In order to secure a training contract, students must complete this scheme.

In the past year, PwC has hosted events with Aspiring Solicitors to provide careers advice which over 1,000 students attended.

Keily Blair, PwC director and sponsor of the pro bono and legal skills volunteering programme, said: ‘The sharp increase in the number of graduate applicants means we have a much bigger group of diverse candidates from which we can hire. People’s backgrounds should not be a barrier to professional advancement and success; we want them to aim high, so we have a five point action plan to help drive change on social mobility across the country.’