East Hampshire District Council’s apprenticeship scheme can provide a route into professions that can seem out of reach to many people.
EHDC offers employers financial support towards the wages, training and travel of an apprentice.
PainSmith Solicitors, based in Medstead and specialising in residential landlord and tenant law, signed up to the scheme and saw their apprentice blossom under their care.
Marveen Smith, a founding solicitor, said: “Currently the law seems a closed book to many youngsters because of the cost of obtaining qualifications.
“I wanted youngsters to have the opportunity to gain a foothold in the law without incurring debt and reaching a level they may not have ever envisaged when they start.”
After some teething issues with the course Marveen was delighted with her apprentice’s progress, eventually encouraging her to take the next step in her career.
"We first considered an apprentice when it was suggested that route would be an ideal way of recruiting junior staff with A-Levels who would need more support. It is also a method of providing them with a qualification and industry-related training to aid them in any future career in the law.
“Our apprentice was an asset to the business and is still continuing her training with another firm in another area of law. She is now working towards her Level 6 of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives which is a very worthwhile qualification.”
EHDC’s scheme is available to all businesses that have an address in the district and pay business rates to the council. Businesses of all sizes are eligible for the scheme but applications from small and medium sized businesses are encouraged.
It offers up to two years match-funding per new apprenticeship post, up to £400 towards travel and up to £1000 towards training (for over 25s only).
Of course, the success of the scheme is ultimately down to one person – the apprentice themselves.
Marveen said: “All I can say is that we consider if a person comes into a legal firm like ours as an apprentice the end result is up to them. PainSmith gives all the encouragement possible but they must put in the work themselves.
“It also proves that being an apprentice does open the way to a very worthwhile legal qualification.”
Cllr Ken Moon, EHDC Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Rural Affairs Portfolio Holder, said: “Our apprenticeship scheme has helped dozens of young people get a foot on the career ladder.
“By combining the educational qualifications, real-life work experience and a regular pay-packet, apprenticeships have proved themselves an excellent way into the world of work."
Find out more about EHDC’s apprenticeship scheme on www.easthants.gov.uk/ apprenticeships