DWF are pleased to announce that one of the pupils from their award-winning education programme has achieved a place on the Trailblazer Paralegal Apprentice scheme run by DWF in collaboration with BPP University.
Catherine Gregg attended All Hallows RC High School between 2009 and 2014 and then progressed to Pendleton College to complete her BTEC in 2016. She successfully graduated from DWF’s 5 STAR Futures programme in 2014.
What is the Paralegal Apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is an ideal way of opening up the legal profession to those who may not find the traditional university-law school route suitable. An apprenticeship combines classroom learning with on-the-job learning, working alongside DWF colleagues to acquire the knowledge and job skills to complete a recognised legal qualification.
An apprenticeship is driven by a framework of requirements used by training providers, colleges and employers to ensure that all apprenticeship programmes are delivered consistently and to agreed standards. Each framework includes details of the qualifications needed to be completed, the key skills targets and any other requirements. Each framework also includes information on job roles and career paths available upon completion.
Catherine is one of 16 apprentices starting with DWF in September 2016. She said of the programme: “I feel like an apprenticeship is the perfect option for me as I can work whilst being educated. Whilst taking part in an apprenticeship, I will learn the correct and relevant skills for the job and have role models in the workplace who I can seek advice and learn from. DWF especially will offer me the correct support I need in order to maximise the potential of my future.”
Are there exams?
The new apprenticeships place much more weight on a final ‘end-point’ assessment, usually exams or assignments that the apprentice will need to complete at the end of their programme. Apprentices will also complete a portfolio of work to evidence that they have achieved the various competencies. Even though several of these elements exist within current apprenticeship frameworks, the end-point assessment will create a highly robust and nationally recognised qualification.
To join the DWF Apprenticeship Programme, candidates need to have at least five GCSE’s at grade C (including Maths and English) and 3 Cs at A Level or equivalent. (There is no requirement to have studied any legal subjects in the past if you are applying for the Paralegal Apprenticeship.) DWF currently offer a Paralegal Apprenticeship (which lasts two years) and a Business Administration Apprenticeship (which lasts 18 months to two years).
Paralegal Apprenticeship candidates are required to complete an online application form. The recruitment team at BPP University undertake a comprehensive screening process which includes a telephone interview. Shortlisted candidates are invited to an assessment centre, which includes a group exercise, written exercise and proof-reading exercise, followed by an interview.
5 STAR Futures
All around the UK, DWF work with schools local to each office, specifically in areas of high unemployment and with a high percentage of children who receive ‘free school meals’.
The DWF Manchester office has been working with All Hallows RC High School since 2012 as part of the 5 STAR Futures programme. Volunteer coaches from DWF work with pupils who want to improve themselves and be better prepared for the world of work.
Sean Monks, Senior Solicitor in the Commercial Insurance department at DWF, and leader of 5 STAR Futures nationally, said: “Building on the confidence and employability skills developed through our 5 STAR Futures programme, Catherine has gone on to achieve a great deal in Year 11 and beyond. The main aims of the programme are to bridge the gap between school and employment, and to work on improving self-efficacy. I am really happy that the time invested by our volunteer coaches from across the business is having a demonstrable impact, and we are seeing real change coming about because of the 5 STAR Futures programme. I am looking forward to watching Catherine’s progression with us and wish her all the best for her career.”