HR Manager, Zoe Tweddle is talking about why going down the apprenticeship route to kick start your career, may be the right path for you.
I just Googled ‘stigma around apprenticeships’ and had to stop reading because it hurt both my head and my heart.
In my career, I have employed many apprentices from tradespersons to finance to business admin and I am really proud of all that they have achieved post apprenticeship. I think an apprenticeship is a tremendous opportunity to gain practical skills and be paid whilst learning.
I’m certainly not arguing against going to University, that’s also, equally, a fantastic route to a career, but I think the two routes should be treated as sperate options. There is a whole host of reasons why university isn’t for everyone, from socioeconomic barriers to people simply not being academic. It’s not mutually exclusive, many graduates go onto apprenticeships after Uni because of the practical hands-on experience an apprenticeship provides and vice versa, many apprentices go on to do degrees.
Being an Apprentices at Jacksons
The majority of our apprentices complete a Business Administration Level 3 Apprenticeship. This may sound very generic, but each of them are working in a specific legal department, focusing on one area of law, ranging from writing a Will to selling a house. The apprentices are all given responsibilities and meaningful work, they are part of our business and are valued and rewarded in the same way.
Duties for an apprentice at Jacksons are varied, they include meeting clients, checking ID, taking initial enquiries from new clients, opening files, sending out quotes, using the practice management system to create communications for customers, learning about the law in their department as well as joining in with companywide initiatives from charity activities to the Apprentice Club.
We have recently appointed two new apprentices in our Newcastle Residential Conveyancing team and we are looking for another two for our Stockton office, one each in our Private Client and Conveyancing teams.
How Apprentices learn
For our Level 3 Apprentices, learning takes the form of a mixture of on-the-job learning, plus monthly one to one meetings with a tutor who guide the apprentice through an online workbook, creating a portfolio of work. It takes around 18 months to finish the portfolio of work, during which time the apprentice spends around 20% of their working week on apprenticeship work. The apprentice then completes an End Point Assessment (EPA) which comprises of 3 stages:
EPA 1 – Multiple choice Q&A exam
EPA 2 – 45-minute interview around the work in the portfolio
EPA 3 – 15-minute presentation plus 15 minutes Q&A.
Only when all this is complete can the apprentice be signed off and considered ‘qualified’.
A level 3 Apprenticeship is equivalent to two A Levels plus the apprentice has gained valuable work experience and been paid during this time. It’s certainly not easy but is absolutely achievable.
What happens at the end of a Jacksons Apprenticeship?
Our goal is to retain all of our qualified apprentices in the firm. Our most recent qualified apprentices have gone on to become, amongst other things, Trainee Paralegals or Finance Assistants, all have been retained in meaningful jobs with long term careers prospects and job security. Some have gone onto to do further qualifications such as CILEx with a view to becoming a Chartered Legal Professionals.
Want to know more?
If you have any questions about our apprenticeships please do give me a call. I am happy to talk to anybody about the opportunities available and what being an apprentice at Jacksons entails. We can do all of this before you decide if you wish to apply.
Also, check out our video from ex-apprentice Ellie McGavigan and current apprentice Brogan Perry for more information.