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Top ten apprenticeship myths

We have taken a look at the top 10 beliefs surrounding apprenticeships to give you the truth behind the myths.

November saw the launch of Weightmans' two new apprenticeships — the solicitor degree and the graduate scheme. Did you know that the history of apprenticeships in the UK can be traced back to the Middle Ages, and then the first national apprenticeship system of training introduced in 1563? A lot has changed in this time, with the introduction of 'Modern Apprenticeships in the 1990s, followed by the introduction of Higher Apprenticeships in 2010. There may have been a significant evolution of apprenticeships over the years, but some old myths and misconceptions about the programmes available still remain.

Here we have identified the top 10 myths around apprenticeships and explained why this could be a career pathway for you.

Myth #1. Apprenticeships are for manual and trade jobs

False! We have been training our people in the law for nearly two hundred years, and the introduction of the new solicitor degree apprenticeship has enabled us to start this process earlier on in an individual’s academic career. The emergence of legal apprenticeships has been rapid over recent years as many firms are now seeing the benefits, and this is echoed across the other professional services.

Myth #2. Apprenticeships are for people who didn't qualify for university

False! Our apprenticeship isn’t a backup to university; it is an alternative pathway to qualification as a solicitor. Here at Weightmans, we are proud to provide a great work/life balance. You will have one day each week to study, however, working and studying at the same time is a demanding pathway and those who want to embark on it need passion and a determination to succeed. In return for that hard work, you will be rewarded with a good salary from day one, tonnes of experience and lots of tailored training.

Myth #3. Apprenticeships are only for 16-year-old school-leavers

False! Apprenticeships range from level 2 (GCSE equivalent) to level 7 (masters equivalent). You can start an apprenticeship at any age.

Myth #4. Apprenticeships are poorly paid

False! Our apprentices are paid a competitive full time salary from day one, with annual pay rises for the six years. Starting off on £17,000pa and reaching £27,000pa by year six. On completion of the course, our newly qualified solicitors are currently paid a salary of £36,000 upwards.

Myth #5. The apprenticeship process is complicated and hard to understand

It can seem that way to somebody when it is a new process that they are trying to understand. However, our early careers team are experts in this area and we work closely with BPP who have been involved in the design of this apprenticeship so we can answer any questions or queries you may have in order for you to fully understand the programme and process. Our programme is designed to provide a very clear pathway and maximum support to apprentices with thorough training throughout.

Myth #6. The qualifications you receive from an apprenticeship aren't as valuable as traditional ones

False! The SRA is introducing the solicitors qualifying exams in 2021 and the LPC will begin to be phased out, so the SQE will be the only route to qualification as a solicitor. The solicitor degree apprenticeship provides a qualifying law degree and guidance through SQE 1 and 2. Throughout the programme, you will also be gaining practical experience handling legal work.

Myth #7. Employers don't retain apprentices once they qualify

False! Here at Weightmans, we believe our people are integral to our success. We will be investing heavily in the training and development of our apprentices, therefore our aim is to retain everybody at the end of their training.

Myth #8. Applying for an apprenticeship scheme is too difficult

We have designed the application process to be as straightforward and supportive as possible. Once registered on our application system, you can log in at any time and see where your application is up to and also access tips for each stage of the process. We will even be conducting coaching calls with everybody who makes it on to our assessment centre. These calls are designed to let you know what to expect on the day, answer any questions or queries you may have and help you feel as comfortable and prepared as possible.

Myth #9. Apprentices are given admin jobs and no real work – it's not a 'proper job'

False! You will be given work of increasing complexity over the six years and experience in a number of different areas of law in the business, working for a range of clients in different sectors. Our in-house bespoke training course, which you will complete as part of your apprenticeship, is designed to develop your business and core skills, so at the end of the programme, you will be equipped with all the skills and knowledge required to perform well in the role as a solicitor.

Myth #10. If you take an apprenticeship you’re stuck with that job for life

False! Our solicitors have very varied careers, and certainly don’t just work on files and offer legal advice. Our solicitors are business advisors to our clients and move across different areas and different clients throughout their careers. We are a large business and many of our lawyers have moved into non-legal roles in the business from delivering training to developing apps for clients. We have teams including IT, HR, Finance, marketing and innovation.

Find out more about starting your career at Weightmans and our two exciting apprenticeship opportunities