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Posted: 9 July 2018

‘I can’t recommend apprentices highly enough’ says Kerry James, head of learning and development at Burges Salmon in Bristol. The firm has found the performance of the apprentices taken on over the past two years to have far exceeded its initial hopes. Burges Salmon has found that its apprentices are motivated, hard-working and enthusiastic, and that their work is of very high quality.

In terms of the practicalities, Burges Salmon planned very carefully to ensure that it had the right support for its apprentices. Mentors and contacts in the people team, as well as line managers and tutors, provide support. Official training is supplemented with an in-house programme. Burges Salmon feels it is important to carve out time and space for apprentices to study so that they aren’t overwhelmed, and the firm’s apprentices appreciate that.

Our recent events

The Law Society recently hosted two apprenticeships events, in London and Leeds. Our events celebrated apprenticeships and their positive impact on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. Attendees came from all sizes and types of firm, as well as in-house lawyers and members from local Law Societies.

The London event provided an opportunity for employers to meet training providers and ask practical questions about how legal apprenticeships are delivered. The providers included BPP University Law School, the City Law School, CILEx Law School, Henley Business School, Ashridge Business School and the University of Law.

Muckle LLP, one of the leaders of the North East Solicitor Apprenticeship Scheme (NESA) presented at the Leeds event. The firm emphasises the importance of effective recruitment as part of the process of taking on apprentices, and said that CILEx Law School, the firm’s provider, was really helpful in promoting this new opportunity across the North East. Companies within the North East Solicitor Apprenticeship Scheme (NESA) followed up with local schools to ensure school leavers were aware of the scheme.

The key messages from both events were the same:

  • Apprenticeships are not just about young people.
  • The apprenticeship levy can be used to upskill existing employees as well as for recruiting new employees.
  • Firms not paying into the levy can still benefit through the government’s apprenticeship schemeBurges Salmon report that the logistics become more complicated as the business grows to rely on an apprenticeships input, and the firm needs to accommodate different years on different schedules. However, it is worth it.

For Muckle LLP, the benefit an apprenticeship scheme brings is an influx fresh new talent joining the firm that can be coached, guided and developed. Regionally, it is creating more equal opportunities to enter the profession.

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