Apprenticeship’s offer a brighter future for the next generation of Conveyancers

Helping aspiring lawyers is something that firms like to get involved in. Some firms use academies whilst others use the apprentice route to grow and mentor new talent.

Katharine Saunders from Aconveyancing explains how the firm uses apprenticeships to help them.

Law is an expensive industry to get into, especially if entering through the traditional routes. University fees are at the higher end of the spectrum and post-graduate course costs are notoriously crippling for those without the means to pay up-front. Many university leavers are faced with astronomical debts before they’ve even taken up a training contract and finding a decent training contract itself a hunt for the golden ticket. Let’s be honest, without help from parents, scholarships, or loans, law is a challenging route for those from lower income, or single parent families to even consider a career option, as a result, law misses out on a whole generation of talent by side-lining those young people. It’s our job as an industry to offer alternative learning options and now is the time to do it.

COVID-19 has forced our college and university leavers to review the next steps in their higher education as many universities are only offering online learning with no plans to enter the lecture theatres anytime soon. This is a great time for firms to look at the skills gaps within their business and consider taking on an apprentice to help fill these gaps with a view to training future managers and leaders from within the company.

Data from the National Apprentice Service has revealed that 92% of companies that take on apprentices believe this leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, with 80% noting a significant increase in employee retention.

Learning and earning is a big pull factor for young adults and job changers, there are so many benefits to working this way. It allows apprenticeships to be tailored to your business, so employees aren’t offered ‘flat-packed’ training. Instead, the skills they cultivate are unique to your firm and your business needs. These employees become better skilled for the job at hand and cultivate a more loyal and engaged workforce –reducing staff turnover and improving all-round productivity.

We implemented an apprenticeship training scheme in our firm a while back now and are starting to really reap the benefits of that investment. We work with the Damar programme because they have over 40 years’ experience within the industry and the courses suit our business model, but there are lots of other programmes out there for employers to consider.

Last month, our Residential Conveyancer Grace Timms qualified with her SQA level 4 diploma after three years of hard work and perseverance. She received the qualification along with no student debt and a wealth of on-the-job experience already under her belt.

Client service is the key to successful conveyancing and because Grace had worked in Wills & Probate before making the move into this sector, it’s served her well to get ahead in the industry while studying. Clients love her. She’s naturally compassionate, she listens, and she has a really dedicated work ethic from prior work experience. Grace isn’t driven by gaining reviews, she has empathy, she cares about what she does and that’s what our client’s love about her.

Grace said:

“I wanted to further my career as a conveyancer and take on more complex cases. The apprenticeship enabled me to take on more work because of the knowledge I gained and allowed me to manage the learning in a timeframe that worked for me personally. The qualification and experience has made a big difference to my confidence.

“I plan to do my Level 6 and become fully qualified, to progress even further with my career and within the business at Aconveyancing and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to develop as I’m working, without debt building up.”

Company founder and director, Natalie Moore talks about the rewards that come with investing in someone’s career;

“One of the most fulfilling parts of founding Aconveyancing is watching how Grace has taken every opportunity to progress, bringing up the team around her and inspiring them to do the same. Her achievements are testament to an amazing staff member who has been with us since day one. There’s nothing stopping Grace from here, the possibilities for her future are endless.”

In just a few short months, the jobs market has changed dramatically, perhaps even irrevocably and now is the time for law firms to respond to that by offering more flexible training options to employees. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity to follow a professional career path to people from all backgrounds, those with the talent but not the financial means to pursue the traditional path in law, whether they’re starting out or making a career change.

Today's Conveyancer