Celebrating our apprentices

8th February 2022

Marking National Apprenticeship Week, we asked our own apprentices, whose roles vary from paralegals, conveyancers or chartered legal executives to business administration and accountancy, to tell us why they chose this route. With 12 apprentices across the firm, it’s a valuable path into work, combining earning and learning.

For Carla Sanders, an apprenticeship provided an opportunity to solidify her experience in a qualification and gave her the flexibility to learn around her current role and other commitments.

“I have been working in conveyancing at HCR for the last six years and as a fee earner for the last three years. I wanted to put my knowledge into a qualification that was recognised in the firm and with my clients.

“My advice for someone like me who never went to university and went straight into working full time at 18, is to always take advantage of qualifications the firm will provide.  For me, life took over – my hobby (synchro swimming), having a family, change of career in motherhood, then coming back to law when my children were older. One thing is for sure, you are never too old to study. I’ve recently completed Level 4 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice and I am looking forward to starting my Level 6 to become a fully qualified licensed conveyancer.”

Jake Newman, HCR’s financial controller, shares why he started an apprenticeship, despite already having established a career in legal finance.

“Becoming a certified chartered accountant is something that I have wanted to do for a number of years but due to the cost it hadn’t been possible. The apprenticeship route has given me the flexibility to learn at a time that suits me, something that is crucial with a young family at home.

“Working as a financial controller, it is obviously crucial to have sound accounting knowledge and whilst I have worked in a legal finance team for 13 years, the course is broadening my knowledge drastically across all areas of accounting. The detail behind “why we do” certain processes and not just the “this is the way it’s done” is an important area. Studying while also being able to put my knowledge into practice every day in my role helps to solidify what I am learning.

“If anyone is looking to start any form of qualification or apprenticeship, I would say the most crucial piece of advice is to be in control of your time. It can get tough working in a busy job, having a family and finding time to complete the course, but if you keep in mind the benefits in the long term, it puts it into perspective. I have had plenty of evenings revising and studying late at night and occasionally early in the morning, but I know the results long term will be rewarding.”

Charlotte Frankland has been inspired to return to academic education after her Level 3 Legal Business Administration Apprenticeship gave her the confidence she lacked at school. As a kinaesthetic learner, the ability to take a hands-on approach to learning with regular feedback from a tutor was invaluable to Charlotte throughout her apprenticeship.

We asked Charlotte what advice she’d give to other apprentices and she told us:

  • Ask for help when you need it! The trainers are there to support you and this really benefitted me
  • Be prepared for your meetings with your tutor/trainer
  • To prepare for your end point assessment, record yourself presenting and watch it back to see where you can improve

After completing her law degree and working in the family law team, Jennifer Lindup knew that family law was the perfect fit for her. A CILEx apprenticeship has enabled her to stay working in this area of law whilst she studies and qualifies as a lawyer.

“Since September 2020, I have been studying the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma, which is a course that enables law graduates to qualify as a lawyer, without undertaking the more traditional, LPC route, or the need to secure a training contract. I am due to complete my work-based portfolio in the coming weeks and will qualify as a fellow and chartered legal executive in August of this year.

“All of my studies have been completed remotely. It has been challenging at times, especially in the depths of lockdown. I thought it would be the perfect thing to keep me occupied, but it did mean I didn’t get the opportunity to meet others studying the course. As long as you know you are able to be disciplined in terms of setting aside study time each week and managing your studies alongside work and daily life, it is a brilliant route to consider.

“Completing the CILEx apprenticeship alongside work has meant that I can directly apply any knowledge I have learnt from the course, improving the advice I can provide to clients. If you know the area of law you want to work within, studying with CILEx is definitely a route worth considering. For me, the ‘CILEx route’ was the perfect fit and I am incredibly grateful to the firm for supporting me in completing the qualification. If anyone has any queries about this route, please do not hesitate to ask!”