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City council and law firm collaborate on solicitor apprenticeship scheme

Bristol City Council and law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) are to collaborate on a solicitor apprenticeship scheme.

The local authority will take on one apprentice, while WBD is looking to appoint three or four.

Under the scheme the apprenticeship will take six years to complete and will consist of four years studying towards a law degree. Whilst being employed on a full-time basis, the chosen apprentices will be expected to complete distance learning, with study days spent at university.

For the final two years the apprentices will join the graduate rotation and newly qualified solicitor process.

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Applications are due to close on 30 April with the successful candidates starting their role in September 2019.

Nancy Rollason, Head of Bristol City Council’s Legal Service, said: “We are pleased to be working with Womble Bond Dickinson to launch our first solicitor apprenticeship programme, which will be a rolling programme year on year.

“We are keen to recruit dynamic people from a diverse range of backgrounds who will have the opportunity to contribute to the life of the city and who want to pursue an alternative to university.”

WBD already runs a solicitor apprenticeship programme in both its Newcastle and Southampton offices and was amongst the first in the legal profession to make legal apprenticeships available.

It employs a total of 37 apprentices including solicitor apprentices, paralegal apprentices and apprentices working in support teams including HR, facilities and IT.

Sam Lee, Head of Recruitment at WBD, said: "We're thrilled to launch our solicitor apprenticeship scheme on the same week as National Apprenticeship Week. Hiring apprentices is absolutely the right thing to do in our sector, creating alternative avenues for people who believe that university isn't the right path for them. We have been amazed by the success of the scheme so far and the commitment shown by our apprentices. 

"As a firm, we're committed to supporting social mobility, opening up new routes into the legal profession and improving employability for young people. We will continue to develop and expand our apprenticeship offering and provide continued learning opportunities following our apprentices' graduation."

Bristol City Council has 185 staff engaged in apprenticeships at all levels of study and has assisted over 2,000 local people gain new skills and sustainable careers through supported apprenticeship programmes.

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