Bristol and London firm Burges Salmon has revealed it has hired five legal apprentices, while other firms have spoken about the benefits of taking a ‘leap of faith’ when offering the 'trailblazer' scheme.

The firms were speaking at a Law Society event on the apprenticeship route into the profession.

Burges Salmon is one of the first practices to hire apprentices in the new trailblazer scheme, approved in September last year.

There are three standards: level 3: paralegal, level 6: chartered legal executive and level 7: solicitor.

The solicitor route will take five to six years to complete, and apprentices will need a minimum of five GCSEs, including maths and English, and three A-levels, or equivalent.

People can also become an apprentice without the required grades if they fulfil other requirements, including work experience or an apprenticeship in a relevant occupation.

Victoria Goldsworthy (pictured), learning and development specialist at Burges Salmon, said the firm had ‘no defined recruitment process’ but that it worked closely with schools and parents during selection.

Robert Halton, chief people officer at Burges Salmon, said the hires would mark an ‘exciting development for the legal sector’.

Also during the event, Mike Potter, partner at international firm Addleshaw Goddard, said firms should be encouraged to take a ‘leap of faith’ and appoint apprentices.

‘When we were considering hiring apprentices we asked ourselves, “Do you need a legal background in law to flourish?”,’ Potter said, adding that in many cases the best performers had no legal background.