Spotlight on apprenticeships – supporting talented young people with a desire to begin their career in law

Nick Scott, Managing Partner at Brodies and PRIME Board member tells us about the value of apprenticeships and we speak to Erin Brown and Cameron Anstruther, who joined Brodies in 2014 as apprentices, about their experience.

What sort of apprenticeships do you provide?

We provide modern apprenticeship opportunities within our legal and business services practice areas. Some are at an advanced level where we commit to supporting the apprentice over a two-year period as they study alongside learning at work. Modern apprenticeships allow us to support talented young people with a desire to begin their career in law. Our first modern apprentice began working with the firm in 2014 and remains a valued colleague within our Business Development and Marketing practice area.

Have the apprenticeships been successful?

To help us recruit suitable candidates, we work closely with our apprenticeship partner, GP Strategies. During this year alone, three of our modern apprentices have successfully completed the programme and have been promoted into permanent positions within the firm. They join eight other colleagues who have graduated from apprentice to more senior roles with Brodies over the years.

What can apprentices expect?

The relationship we have with our apprentices is two way. We provide a collaborative and collegiate environment to nurture and develop their talent, and these colleagues help us to continually do better. The ideas and opinions of our young people matter to us and our apprentices have played a key role in helping us to achieve the Investors in Young People Gold practice award.

Introduce us to your colleagues who started at Brodies as apprentices.

Erin Brown joined Brodies straight from high school in November 2014 as an apprentice in our Business Development & Marketing (BD&M) practice area. Erin was our first apprentice within the firm and helped us realise how much value can be added to the individuals and the firm by offering these opportunities. Erin is still part of the team, working as a BD&M Administrator on a part time basis around her university timetable as she is also studying full time towards achieving a degree in law.

“I started with Brodies in 2014 as an apprentice in the Marketing and Business Development team. I continue to work in my role as an Administrator but I went on to study the LLB (law degree) after the completion of my apprenticeship. I completed a HND in Legal Services then progressed to the LLB.”

What made you chose to do an apprenticeship at a law firm?

I chose to do  an apprenticeship as I was stuck between going to university or full-time job. The apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to learn on the job and get paid. I always had a slight interest in law but at that point, I didn’t think the law degree was for me so I was exploring other options.

What do you see as being the benefits of the apprenticeship route into your career?

My apprenticeship played a large part in how I got to where I am today. It gave me the stepping stone and skill set, I didn’t know I needed to start my legal career.

If you hadn’t done your apprenticeship, what would you have done?

The truthful answer is I have no idea!

What did you know about the legal industry before you joined Brodies?

My knowledge on the legal industry was non-existing before I joined Brodies.

What skills have you developed through your apprenticeship?

Confidence is the top. Other skills I developed were communication, team-working, commercial awareness, perseverance and motivation. All skills which are beneficial to my degree and will continue to benefit my future career.

What difference have you seen in yourself as a result of your apprenticeship?

Confidence again – my confidence within the first year at Brodies grew so much and continues to grow. My confidence has a positive effect on how I communicate, make decisions and work within a team.

What advice would you give to a young person thinking of undertaking an apprenticeship?

I would 100% say go for it – you never know where you might end up! If someone told me 6 years ago that I’d be 6 months away from completing a law degree… I never would have believed them.

What do you wish you had known before starting your apprenticeship?

A bit of me would have liked to know how successful it was going to be, however, maybe things would then have turned out differently.

What is next for you?

Hopefully a legal traineeship!

To me, a career in law/working in a law firm is…..

Always learning – everyday is a school day. I’m continuously learning and most of the time it’s not law related.

Cameron Anstruther joined Brodies in February 2018 on a fixed term basis taking on an advanced Modern Apprenticeship within our IT Support Team. The advanced apprenticeship lasts two years and after successfully completing his first year and proving what a capable individual he is, he joined the team on a permanent basis. At the start of this year he completed the second year of the apprenticeship alongside working full time. Cameron is fully immersed in the IT Support Analyst role now and receives regular feedback about how well he performs.

Cameron, tell us about what you do and how you got to be doing it.

I work in IT. I started working in IT part time at a family run business after I dropped out of college

What made you chose to do an apprenticeship at a law firm?

I wanted to have further qualifications in IT and already tried college but I felt it wasn’t the right environment for me to learn. It also allowed me to see what IT is like on a more corporate level as the family business was more home computers

What do you see as being the benefits of the apprenticeship route into your career?

I got to learn and earn at the same time. I got to see exactly how my coursework applied to my job. It helped with my coursework as I was using the things I learned at work

If you hadn’t done your apprenticeship, what would you have done?

I’m not sure but I would probably still be working in the family business

What did you know about the legal industry before you joined Brodies?

Nothing other than what I had seen on TV!

What skills have you developed through your apprenticeship?

I have developed my organisation, problem solving and communication skills 

What difference have you seen in yourself as a result of your apprenticeship?

I am a lot more confident in myself. I have been given the time to make any mistakes in a real life setting and know I’m confident in my own ability.

What advice would you give to a young person thinking of undertaking an apprenticeship?

It is a genuine alternative to university and college. You should definitely consider it

What do you wish you had known before starting your apprenticeship?

I wish I had known how difficult it would be to work and study at the same time.

What is next for you?

I am going to enjoy my spare time for a bit and then I plan to go on to more studies at university

To me, a career in law/working in a law firm is…..

Respected and stable.

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