ONE of the borough’s top solicitors are offering apprenticeships to students considering alternative routes to university.
Stephensons has teamed up with other law firms in the region to offer 80 legal apprenticeships between them. The scheme is part of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Employer Ownership of Skills initiative which has secured £8.5m of funding to tackle the skills gap across a number of sectors. This month Rachel Ord 18, joined Stephensons’ clinical negligence department in Wigan as its first paralegal apprentice. Her brief includes assessing schedules or bills received from draftsmen, updating the limitation diary to check where cases are up to and chasing payments.
She said: “I chose to do a legal apprenticeship over a degree as I felt that being in a working environment would better prepare me for a career in law than being at university. It’s increasingly difficult to gain valuable experience in a law firm that can set graduates apart from one another, as degrees are becoming so common.”
Last month, the firm recruited its first-ever apprentice, Chloe Kendall. The 18-year-old joined the marketing team in Leigh as a PR apprentice. She is among the country’s first PR apprentices to follow the Level 4 qualification in public relations, equivalent to the first year of a degree. Her role involves monitoring the firm’s press coverage, compiling monthly reports, writing press releases and social media.
She said: “I’m pleased to be among the first PR apprentices in the country and Stephensons’ first apprentice. The mix of working while also studying one day a week towards a professional qualification appealed to me and I also like the diversity of the job. Every day is different.”
HR manager Janine Turner said: “Apprenticeships offer a really credible alternative to University for young people who want to follow a fulfilling and rewarding pathway into a career in law. Our first apprentices, Chloe and Rachel, have already made a big impact in their teams and we’re thrilled with their progress so far.”