At the time of the initial pilot, Jenny Pelling, Director of Business and Apprenticeships at CILEx Law School, said: “We have been working with our clients at Bond Dickinson for many years in the delivery of CILEx courses by distance learning. We look forward to meeting their first apprenticeship recruits and being instrumental in their development from ‘raw’ school leavers to effective contributors to Bond Dickinson’s business.”
A year later, in 2015, Craig Moore, Finance and Investment Partner at Bond Dickinson and Head of the Plymouth office, said: “Our first three legal apprentices have fitted in extremely well and are each contributing very successfully to the work of their teams. Their experiences at work are being continuously underpinned by the knowledge and skills they are gaining through the units taught by CILEx Law School, and their confidence and technical ability have both really flourished during the short period they have been with us.”
The success of the apprenticeship scheme is due to the clear structure in place for apprentices to progress from entry level roles to becoming valuable fee-earners. Apprentices are allocated a supervisor and a mentor. They start with administrative tasks, such as inputting data, and drafting basic correspondence and move quickly on to supervised legal work on files. The apprentices’ role develops as they gain experience and confidence in the workplace coupled with legal knowledge through their studies. There is a clear structure in place for appprentice paralegals to progress from the entry level roles up to Managing Paralegal positions and, for those who want to, the firm supports aspirations to go on to qualify as lawyers through the CILEx route.
Jack Bidgood, a final year apprentice at Bond Dickinson, said: “This apprenticeship scheme has enabled me to develop personally and professionally. Through the combination of self-study and on the job experience I have the knowledge and opportunity to put what I am learning into practice. The firm provides a great deal of support and are extremely flexible in their approach to facilitating our requirements.”