I read with interest the article ‘How to: prepare for apprenticeships’ and welcome the proposals discussed, although they are not particularly innovative.
Having worked in London for some years, I decided to embark upon a career in the law. I was 30 and had never been to university.
At the time, the Law Society agreed to a non-degree route to becoming a solicitor, so I enrolled on the Law Society Part 1 course at the College of Law. This was a one-year course and I passed all the exams to allow me to take the Part II Law Society exams.
However, I was required to take a six-month break between Part 1 and Part II. During this time I was employed by a law firm in Manchester, gaining valuable practical experience while earning a moderate salary. Later I passed the Part II exams, after attending the six-month course.
After that I obtained articles with a well-known Lincolnshire law practice where, after three and a half years, I qualified as a solicitor. I have always considered the practical experience I gained over these years extremely valuable and have never regretted not attending university.
I was fortunate that my articles were so good, with proper supervision and a high level of responsibility. I was a respected and often admired member of the legal profession, with many satisfied clients. I qualified without debt and even a small amount in savings. I became a partner in a respected legal practice.
In the light of my positive experience, I sincerely hope that many law firms see the wisdom of accepting apprentices. Their businesses and the apprentice can both benefit from the arrangement.
Jennifer Hailey, Kenilworth, Warwickshire