At a time when businesses have criticised the Coalition’s plans to invest in apprenticeships, Francis Alexander Solicitors have provided a blueprint for how such a scheme can become successful.
The announcement from George Osbourne MP, the Chancellor, to provide an extra £180million to create 50,000 more apprenticeships last month, has been given a lukewarm response from many small businesses.
They believe there are unable to provide the number of places the Government needs, particularly now each apprentice must receive up to 280 hours of training away from the workplace.
But at Francis Alexander Solicitors, they have successfully integrated a young apprentice into their firm, which is based in Heaton Mersey and specialises in compensation claims, accident claims and conveyancing.
Tom Herring, 20, joined the firm after seeing information about the Apprentice scheme on a notice board at Stockport College, and worked on general office duties, including filing, opening new cases and answering the phone.
Once his tenure was completed, he was taken on full-time as a trainee legal executive/paralegal last September and goes to Manchester college one day a week to supplement his learning.
“I’m getting a wide range of experience within the legal field,” explained Tom. “All the other staff here are very helpful and it’s a very supportive environment for someone just starting out on their career.”
Since starting his apprenticeship, Tom has branched out to run PPI files to their conclusion, attends court and barrister appointments and organisers the diaries for the Energy Performance assessors attached to the firm.
Principal solicitor Alex Speed is fully endorsing the Government’s push towards apprenticeships and believes small business can benefit if they embrace the scheme.
He said: “It gives the employer a chance to evaluate the abilities of the apprentice through on the job training. It is a good scheme because we can monitor how Tom is progressing, but the apprentice needs a strong and supportive approach.”