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Business & Economy

North East law firms commit to apprenticeships in 2021

An initiative which aims to redefine the route into law for young people in the North East has commitment to offering more opportunities this year.

The North East Solicitor Apprenticeship (NESA) programme was first launched in 2017 to provide an alternative to the traditional way of qualifying as a lawyer.

A significant number of young people across the North East are already engaged in the six-year apprenticeship scheme.

Last year, NESA was unable to continue due to the coronavirus pandemic but now, the companies involved in the project – Muckle, Sintons and Ward Hadaway – have committed to taking on new apprentices.

With its offer of on-the-job training and mentoring from seasoned lawyers, alongside academic support from Northumbria University, and the fact apprentices are also paid a salary, NESA has been a success since it launched.

The application process for 2021 is already open and an online information event for school and college students is being held on May 4, where each of the NESA members will give an overview of their firm and provide an opportunity to meet some of the solicitor apprentices in their firms and hear from them firsthand about their experience.

Northumbria University will also give an overview of the academic requirements of the apprenticeship.

Claire Atkins, head of people services at Sintons, said: “In many businesses and sectors, the impact of COVID has meant they are currently unable to offer opportunities to young people – but at Sintons, as well as with NESA, we are keenly aware of these decreasing opportunities for the region’s aspiring talent, and are committed to ensuring they are given every chance of progressing their careers, despite what is happening in the economy.”

Jason Wainwright, managing partner at Muckle LLP, said: “At Muckle, we’re passionate about providing opportunities to talented individuals to access the legal profession. We have recruited apprentice solicitors since the inception in 2017 and the scheme has been incredibly successful for us giving us access to some brilliant and talented young people.”

Matt Cormack, training principal at Ward Hadaway, said:  “Given the events of the last 12 months it has never been more important for businesses to do what they can to open up opportunities for young people, and so we are delighted to be part of the NESA programme again this year.”