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How law firm Ashtons Legal used a government scheme to help Sarah-Jane Legge qualify as a solicitor

This week, one of Ashtons Legal’s staff, Sarah-Jane Legge, qualified as a solicitor. While this may not seem unusual, Sarah-Jane is one of the first people in the country to undertake and complete the Six-Year Solicitors Apprenticeship (previously known as Trailblazer Apprenticeships).

Apprenticeships are a great alternative to full time study – it is a real job where you learn, gain experience and get paid. Apprentices are employees with contracts of employment and benefits such as holiday and sick pay.

At the end of an apprenticeship, that person will have the right skills and knowledge needed for their chosen career.

Sarah-Jane Legge, of Ashtons Legal
Sarah-Jane Legge, of Ashtons Legal

It can take between one and six years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which one the person chooses, what level it is and their previous experience. A bonus for the employee is that it’s funded from contributions made by the government and the employer.

As employers you can employ apprentices at different entry levels – from school leavers and university graduates to people who want to further or change their careers.

The apprentices can be new to your organisation or an existing employee wanting to change direction professionally. While the employer is required to pay the apprentice a salary, they can also get funding from the government to help pay for the apprentice's training.


Information from the Government’s National Apprenticeship Service states that 86 per cent of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation, 78 per cent of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity and 74 per cent of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service.

In the case of a legal apprenticeship, approximately 20 per cent of the week consists of studying the theory of law at a university the firm partners with, the other 80 per cent of time is spent working with partners and fee earners on active matters.

-- More information about apprenticeships can be found at www.apprenticeships.gov.uk

-- More information about apprenticeships at Ashtons Legal can be found at www.ashtonslegal.co.uk/careers

-- Ashtons Legal is based at Fornham Business Court, Bury St Edmunds