What is the value of legal apprenticeships over degrees?
11th December, 2019
Medical Negligence

Written by

Charlie Hayward - Trainee Solicitor

Over the past few years, apprenticeships have gradually gained popularity as the public are beginning to recognise the benefits of this alternative career path. This is particularly true of those seeking a career in law. After finishing sixth form or college, many students assume that the best route to becoming a solicitor begins with a law degree, however in many cases a legal apprenticeship can get budding solicitors where they want, faster, and for a fraction of the cost.

Legal apprenticeships allow you to learn while you earn, submerging you into a workplace environment which will likely improve employability. At Patient Claim Line, we host a number of apprenticeships through our trailblazer schemes, which allow young people to train to become qualified solicitors. They can experience many different departments and roles over the years with our firm, whilst studying alongside their work.

We spoke to one of our success stories, Charlie Hayward, who turned down an unconditional place at Lancaster University in favour of a law apprenticeship. Now in his fourth year of the scheme, Charlie hails the benefits of his decision and encourages others to consider this slightly unconventional career choice.

Speaking about the benefits of the scheme, Charlie said:

“I had an unconditional offer at Lancaster University to study law but turned it down to take up the apprenticeship. The scheme guarantees that I’ll be a qualified solicitor at the end of it. If I’d gone to university, that certainly wouldn’t have been possible within this time frame.”

“I never stopped to consider the alternative options – throughout school, I had generally just presumed I’d end up at university to better my career.”

“If you go to university to do a law degree, you then have to do a LPC and get a training contract. By doing an apprenticeship, it’s all included. Training contracts can be really hard to come by but they’re included in the apprenticeship which is amazing to have that opportunity.”

One challenge that Charlie initially faced was worrying about missing out, having seen his peers leave for university. Charlie commented:

“I do wonder if I am missing out on university life but I am actually working in the career that I wanted to be in. This was always the end goal so I’m getting there quicker and without all the associated costs!

“I love the social life at Fletchers Solicitors – the firm that owns Patient Claim Line – and the working environment. Having the opportunity to learn and do the job while you are studying, complements the studies really well.

“Fletchers really supports development for all team members so it’s a great place to gain experience and progress within the profession.”

Whilst Charlie sees his peers taking different routes into their chosen careers, he would wholeheartedly recommend an apprenticeship. He added:

“I’ve definitely made the right decision. I’ll be much further on than my friends who have gone to university and who will graduate needing to find a job. Hopefully, I will have all the experience that an employer is looking for.”

“I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship because it allows you to gain the knowledge and qualifications you need, while allowing you to gain experience and competence which will ultimately help you to succeed. 

“I will be getting a full law degree, the LPC/Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam and a training contract in my qualification and will have no student debt whatsoever. I know plenty of people who have various degrees but are unable to get jobs due to lack of experience. I hope that my apprenticeship will eliminate that issue as I will have over 5 years of experience when I come to qualify.”

For more information about apprenticeships with Fletchers Solicitors and our medical negligence brand Patient Claim Line, visit our apprenticeships page.

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