Opinion: To train or not to train; that is the question

Lloyd Davies is Managing Director of The Conveyancing Academy and Convey Law shares his thoughts on Training vs Recruitment.

As Today’s Conveyancer continues to report, conveyancing vacancies on the Indeed recruitment site have seen 130% growth since July.

The property market continues to boom, with sales agreed so far in 2020 surpassing the 2019 total.

For those businesses whose role it is to service this demand, their ability to cope has been restricted by capacity. In terms of recruitment, staffing has been a major challenge. There has been a considerable shift in the ways of working such as working from home, furlough, and the ongoing impact of illness and self-isolation which can hamper delivery.

Haven’t we been here before?

Following the loss of many Conveyancing experts in the previous recession, Convey Law in discussion with fellow leading practitioners in the Conveyancing field, identified the need to recruit new staff and train them quickly.

But is recruitment always the answer? There is a great deal of uncertainty around the impact of the so-called ‘cliff edge’ at the end of the SDLT holiday in March; will property transactions tail off, will they remain constant, will buyers pull out ahead of March because they know they won’t meet the Stamp Duty deadline?

Could this leave many of the conveyancers recruited to cope with demand twiddling their thumbs?

The middle ground here is to both recruit and look to upskill existing staff.

The Apprenticeship Programme at Convey Law has trained complete novices into competent conveyancing professionals within 6 to 12 months.

Training is provided in-house by accredited and experienced Tutors, in state-of-the-art training facilities. Our Apprenticeship Pathway provides the most effective and valuable apprenticeship experience, increasing engagement, productivity, and transferable skills.

Our Apprenticeship Programme has had a direct benefit to our Apprentices by providing an excellent career pathway, salary increases at key training milestones and a great training environment.

Developing our Apprenticeship Pathway was critical as we could not engage sufficient Conveyancers to grow our business. We also identified the need to support existing employees through a structured, consistent, hands-on training pathway.

Despite a huge recruitment drive, we found a lack of Conveyancers in the industry was holding us back from achieving our targets.

As a result, in 2014 we developed our own academic Apprenticeship Courses for staff to learn, develop and grow. This allowed us to employ Apprentices with no previous legal experience and train them into qualified conveyancers. We have now trained over 60 Trainee Conveyancers through our in-house Apprenticeship Programme.

The Practicing Conveyancer Legal Diploma which is available through The Conveyancing Academy, allows legal practices to recruit new staff and develop their skills quickly. The course is designed for both Trainee Solicitors and new and non-qualified Conveyancers and offers practical knowledge allowing companies to train complete novices into competent and fee earning Conveyancers within 6 to 12 months.

Individuals quickly get up to speed with all the rudimentaries of practising conveyancing, from taking instructions to completing transactions. A very intensive 6-month Training Programme allows Trainees to be exposed to greater responsibility from an early stage, resulting in the overall training process being short-circuited compared to the lengthy traditional training procedure.

Training provides individuals with both academic and legal knowledge, combined with the practical application of the skills taught during the course. The Trainee is prepared to manage their own caseload highly effectively.

Consider the often quoted corporate dilemma of investing in employees…

“What if we train them and they leave?” says the CFO to the CEO; “what if we don’t and they stay!?” is the response.

 

Author: Lloyd Davies is Managing Director of The Conveyancing Academy and Convey Law

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