Aléxia Semedo and Zara Haleem

We are excited to be celebrating our fourth National Apprenticeship Week here at Wilsons together with our twenty (!)  graduate apprentices, including our newest apprentices Aarushi Singh and Rosa Curson Smith

Having all gained a law degree or equivalent and successfully completed over a year’s work here at Wilsons, our twenty graduate apprentices are all now following the apprenticeship path to qualification rather than the traditional LPC/training contract route. They spend four days each week on casework, gaining valuable experience and developing their legal skills in a similar way to a traditional training contract. Alongside that, they spend one day a week on ‘off-the-job’ training, including preparation for the SQE exams, with the University of Law, primarily funded by the government’s apprenticeship scheme with an employer contribution from us. On successful completion they will be admitted to the roll of solicitors in the usual way, with our first cohort of graduate apprentices Isaac Abraham and Nick O’Loughnan having qualified in September 2023. We were overjoyed to have been awarded Employer of the Year in the Management Legal and Professional Services category of the Multicultural Apprenticeships Awards 2022 and to have been shortlisted too in the Small and Medium Employer of the Year category the same year. 

We are especially proud this year of our post A level solicitor apprentice Zara Haleem, who joined us as a school leaver in September 2021 and is now in her third year of our six year degree apprenticeship scheme, in our Public Law and Human Rights department. Zara was shortlisted in the Management Legal and Professional Services category of the Multicultural Apprenticeships Awards 2023, and can be seen here talking about her apprenticeship journey so far. Zara reflects: 

I initially applied for the 6-year solicitor apprenticeship at Wilson Solicitors as I have always valued learning on-the-job. What really sets apprenticeships apart from traditional routes of learning, is the chance to gain practical, hands-on experience every day. At Wilsons, I have had opportunities to work on real cases and apply law in the real world – something I would not otherwise be able to do at this stage. The years of real-life experience that you gain from doing an apprenticeship are priceless and really set you apart as a candidate. 

At first, it seemed daunting to join a law firm straight after leaving school. However, I quickly found my feet with the encouragement of my colleagues. Apprenticeships place you in a challenging, yet supportive learning environment, and I have thrived during my time at Wilsons. 

Last year, I was fortunate to be shortlisted for an award in the Management, Legal and Professional Services category of the Multicultural Apprenticeship Awards 2023. It was an eye-opening experience to attend the award show and see how big the world of apprenticeships is. There were apprentices working in engineering, media marketing, charity services, healthcare and so much more. I enjoyed meeting the other apprentices, and seeing how accomplished they were in their respective career paths. 

National Apprenticeship Week is a celebration of an alternative education system. It aims to encourage young people to explore their options and think about all the benefits that an apprenticeship has to offer. I have really enjoyed being an apprentice and I am looking forward to the remaining years of casework, learning, and networking to come. I would absolutely recommend this route to anyone considering an alternative to traditional university.

We are also very proud this year to have launched our additional paralegal apprenticeship scheme for local school leavers, and of our paralegal apprentice Aléxia Semedo who joined us in October 2023. Aléxia reflects on her experiences so far: 

I didn’t know much about apprenticeships as university was seen as the more ‘traditional’ route for higher education, until a friend mentioned looking through the government apprenticeship website. I knew I didn’t want to continue with such a linear learning experience and wanted a more hands-on approach to starting my career in the legal field.

This is when I came across Wilson’s paralegal apprenticeship, and I remembered thinking this is just what I was looking for! A community-centred law firm with so much passion for the work they do.

I have now been with Wilsons for three months and have enjoyed every step of my journey. Coming into full time employment straight after completing my A-levels was very nerve-racking and I assumed I’d feel out of place. I have met many amazing people, and my colleagues are all very welcoming and warm people. I continue to look forward to gaining more knowledge and lifelong lessons from all the wise professionals here at Wilsons. It is a pleasure working here!

All our apprentice schemes offer an affordable alternative to the traditional routes to legal qualifications and we very much hope they will go some way towards opening up the profession to those who would not otherwise be able to access it. 

Read more about our award in the Law Gazette here, more about our apprenticeships at Wilsons on our website here, and more general information about solicitor apprenticeships here and for employers here.   

If you would like to instruct Felicity to help you with a family law case, please contact family department secretary, Mavis, for an appointment on 0202 8885 7986.

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