We are delighted to introduce Forbes Solicitors, our Employer of the Year in our Annual Apprenticeship Awards 2017. Forbes Solicitors is one of the largest law firms in the North of England with eight offices and over 320 members of staff, providing legal advice to individuals via private client departments and commercial advice from sole traders to larger organisations, covering all legal disciplines.
Find out more about Forbes in our interview below…
How have your apprentices progressed in their roles and how has Forbes benefitted from their performance?
We have been employing apprentices at Forbes since 2000. To date, we are pleased to say that we have successfully supported approximately 200 apprentices through their qualifications.
Out of those 200 Apprentices, we are very proud to confirm that 52 are still employees of the Firm with 36 of those employees furthering their careers with us.
Examples can be seen from over the years of some of our intermediate level business administration apprentices, who started their careers with us as Office Assistants:
- Completed in 2000: Now an Office Manager
- Completed in 2000: Now a Cost Lawyer
- Completed in 2003: Now a Solicitor
- Completed in 2004: Now a Crown Court Case Worker
- Completed in 2008: Now an Administration Manager
- Completed in 2016: Now a Paralegal
How have the apprenticeships and training delivery been of benefit to the apprentices in their role and how has this impacted on your business?
All apprentices are encouraged to apply internally to further their careers within Forbes. We deliver essential skills training including touch typing and legal text processing within the apprenticeship programme, along with work based knowledge of our systems, on-the-job training and compliance awareness. This all provides the apprentice with an excellent foundation to develop, progress and excel in their future career.
What future plans do you have for your apprentices and how do you feel the training may support their future development?
We are expanding our intermediate apprenticeship programme and have recently signed up 13 Apprentices, surpassing our average number of eight apprentices per cohort. We hope that we continue to have many more years of successfully supporting, developing and retaining new apprentices through our programme.
In August 2016, we signed up a cohort of advanced business administration apprentices. We wanted to be able to offer a qualification in-house that would be accessible to our existing members of staff, so that they too could be recognised by way of a formal qualification for their hard work. We are looking forward to continuing to enrol our employees onto this qualification and supporting them to achieve their qualification.
During the last 18 months, we have been able to work with our Trainee Paralegals by offering the opportunity to complete the advanced and higher legal services apprenticeships. This is an exciting qualification for our Trainee Paralegals as they are able to work in a law firm, gaining hands-on knowledge of legal procedures whilst studying a qualification, earning a salary and working towards promotion to Paralegal status.
What advice would you give to other employers thinking about taking on an apprentice?
We have found offering apprenticeships helps employers recruit a higher calibre of applicant.
Recruiting apprentices ensures that we can nurture our apprentices throughout their qualifications, resulting in home-grown talent within our workforce who work to our values and are trained in our own procedures.
We believe that our apprentices are motivated and gain the valuable experience and skills that we require.
Our advice would be to go for it! You should recruit at apprentice level to enable you to develop your business with training on what works and matters to you as an employer. Our apprentices have developed tremendously well and we are very proud to say that we recruit and invest in apprenticeships.
What in particular has stood out as being ‘exceptional’ about your apprentices or has ‘added real value’ to the firm?
One of our shining stars is Frankie Haggerty. Frankie successfully completed the intermediate apprenticeship in business administration. During her apprenticeship, Frankie became a Lancashire Young Apprenticeship Ambassador.
As an Ambassador, Frankie has attended Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) meetings after work, where she has been asked to present to HR professionals regarding her own journey to becoming an Apprentice. Frankie was also invited to a Lancashire Enterprise Partnership breakfast seminar to deliver a presentation to 60+ employers who wanted to learn more about employing apprentices.
During National Apprenticeship Week (March 2017), Frankie was invited to London, to The House of Commons to meet Robert Halfron MP, the Minster for Apprenticeships and Skills, along with another 200 Apprentices, which was a fantastic experience for Frankie.