Barcan+Kirby celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

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This week is National Apprenticeship Week; a week-long celebration to recognise the positive impact that apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy.

We offer a range of legal and business support apprenticeships for both internal and external applicants.

Legal apprenticeships at Barcan+Kirby

We are pleased to offer three apprenticeship programmes (in addition to our training contracts) for aspiring solicitors: a Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship, a Solicitor Apprenticeship and a Paralegal Apprenticeship. We offer these apprenticeships to provide an accessible gateway for young professionals looking to take their first steps into a successful legal career and to support career progression within the firm.

Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship programme

The Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship was launched in 2023 and is a 27-month programme for budding lawyers who have a Bachelor’s degree in Law (or any subject, provided the candidate has completed a 20-week ‘Access to Law’ programme required by the apprenticeship).

The programme prepares apprentices for the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE 1 and SQE 2) which were introduced in September 2021 as the new route to qualifying as a Solicitor. As well as exams, the programme consists of 80% work experience in one or more of our departments and 20% study ‘off the job.’

The apprenticeship is delivered by blended learning via The University of Law which assigns a subject tutor and a skills coach to provide guidance and support.

Upon successful completion, apprentices will become fully qualified Solicitors.

Lucy Amos, who is in her first year of the Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship, commented:

“After graduating from the University of Reading with a first-class LL.B. Law Degree, I gained a year’s experience working as a Paralegal. 

When researching my options to progress into a career in law, I was really interested in the graduate apprenticeship route. It offered a new route to qualification compared to the traditional training contract. I was only made aware of the training contract route to qualification whilst at university, which would have required me to take a year away from work to complete the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) or Legal Practice Course (LPC). The apprenticeship gives the perfect opportunity to work towards the SQE whilst still gaining valuable hands-on experience and preventing the need for a career break. 

Barcan+Kirby has a great culture and provides a supportive environment to all employees. I am excited to have started my qualification journey with such friendly and approachable colleagues who are enthusiastic about my progression and development as an apprentice.”

Solicitor Apprenticeship programme

The Solicitor Apprenticeship programme is a six-and-a-half-year programme for aspiring solicitors who don’t have a university degree. The programme does, however, require candidates to have three A-Levels at grade C or above, or equivalent and five GCSEs including Maths and English at grade 4+ or equivalent.

Gabi Chenoweth, who is undertaking the Solicitor Apprenticeship role, explains her route into law and why an apprenticeship was a good option for her:

“None of my A-Levels related to law, however, I knew it was an avenue I wanted to explore. I am now in the second year of the Solicitor Apprenticeship at Barcan+Kirby.

I decided to go down the apprenticeship route rather than university as I would still get the same education and qualification as uni, but I get paid at the same time and do not have the debt of the university course.

Everyone at Barcan+Kirby has been very welcoming and very accommodating and I have been given more opportunities to progress my legal knowledge, drafting skills, communication and all the competencies needed to be a day-one solicitor.

My advice for anyone looking to apply for an Apprentice Solicitor role would be to do your research on law firms and look at their values. Research the course you will be taking, keeping in mind it is a six-year course that requires you to work hard and be committed to your studies.”

Daisy Long who is also in her first year of the apprenticeship commented on her apprenticeship journey: “I wanted to do the Solicitor Apprenticeship so I could stay at work full-time during my studies, and it seemed like the most manageable route for me after a gap in studying. I also find it easier to be held accountable for my learning when my employer gets sent details of progress etc.

I’m really happy that Barcan+Kirby enrolled me onto the Solicitor Apprenticeship as it’s such a great opportunity to qualify, and I can still work and earn money alongside it and have the benefit of not having to repay student debt!

My advice to anyone looking to get a legal apprenticeship is to work as hard as you can, network, and make a name for yourself so people know who you are and that you are worth investing in.”

Paralegal Apprenticeship

The Paralegal Apprenticeship is available to anyone who doesn’t hold a university qualification but has obtained substantial work experience in a legal setting. The apprenticeship requires five GCSEs at grade 9-4 (or equivalent) including English and Maths or a level 2.

Rebecca Barrett, who is in the first year of her Paralegal Apprenticeship, commented on her journey so far:

“I wanted to do an apprenticeship as I feel that they are the best way to learn as you get the experience of actually working within your chosen area as well as attending college. It’s also great being able to earn your monthly wage whilst doing this. I am able to fit my college work around my family life which is super important.

I also feel that apprenticeships may be better for an older student who may not have always enjoyed the school environment when they were at school but wanted to gain a qualification.

Doing my apprenticeships with Barcan+Kirby means a lot to me; it means that they were able to see something within me that I had not recognised before- that I can do anything that I put my mind to and the ladder is there to be climbed. I feel that Barcan+kirby will support this journey that is not only for me, but for the firm as well.

I would highly recommend that people do their research thoroughly on what course they want to do before taking any steps. Know what is going to be expected of you – this is for your progression and has to be what is right for you! Obviously, check that you are able to give the time that is required for whatever course it is; Talk to colleagues, or friends who have already undertaken the apprenticeship you are looking at, and find out their experience, good or bad so that you have all the knowledge before beginning the journey.”

Shannon Milkins, who is also enrolled on the Paralegal Apprenticeship programme, said:

“I had worked in law for 10 years at the time I was offered the apprenticeship, I had never gone to university and I felt it was too late to do so, but the apprenticeship route has worked well for me.

I have also become more confident within my job role and have enjoyed learning the law behind it all. I am thankful for Barcan+Kirby giving me the opportunity to do the apprenticeship route and giving me the confidence to go back into a study environment after so long which can be quite daunting. If you are given the opportunity to do an apprenticeship, then definitely take it!”

Nicole Milstead worked as an Administration Assistant at Barcan+Kirby before enrolling onto the Paralegal Apprenticeship. She commented on her journey: “I completed a degree in English Literature in 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic hit and, in the wake of a lot of change, began to consider my future and possibly a career in law. I understood at the time that I would need to convert my existing degree by completing a postgraduate course and then pursue further studies, however, I was concerned about the costs of this route, coupled with a delay in earning whilst I obtained the relevant qualifications. I also wanted to try working in the field first. I therefore started at Barcan+Kirby as an Administration Assistant in the Residential Conveyancing team and, after a year in this role, was encouraged to look into the CILEx Level 3 Apprenticeship when a Paralegal spot opened up. This wasn’t something I was previously aware of, but the firm was really helpful and supportive of me; I appreciated being able to gain some experience in the department beforehand, as well as to earn alongside the course.

I think an apprenticeship is well worth looking into for a legal qualification, whether you are not so keen on university, want to start working right away, or are making a career change and cannot afford to put things on hold. Furthermore, if there is a particular area of law which interests you, the [paralegal apprenticeship] CILEx course works in pathways, so that you focus only on the topics relevant to your work and department.”

Business support apprenticeships

Our business support apprenticeships are offered to eligible internal staff and include Legal Administration and AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) Apprenticeships. All apprenticeships offered provide the right tools for staff to expand their knowledge of the business world within legal services.

Legal Administration Apprenticeship

We offer a Legal Administration Level 3 apprenticeship for internal staff. This is suitable for Administration Assistants looking to enhance their performance or progress to the role of a Legal Secretary.

It is also suitable for Legal Secretaries looking to progress to the role of Senior Legal Secretary.

Katrina Handley is in her first year of the Legal Administration Apprenticeship. She explains why an apprenticeship was a good option for her:

“I wanted to start an apprenticeship to further increase my knowledge of the conveyancing process and to also assist with my career progression. I am very thankful to Barcan+kirby for allowing me the opportunity to start this apprenticeship and for supporting me on this journey. I was worried that it would be a lot of additional work, especially as I work part-time, but I have found that I am able to fit in my on-the-job hours weekly and I am supported by my Team Leader, I also get a lot of support from my allocated Damar Coach.

My advice to anyone who is thinking about starting an apprenticeship would be to just go for it – the knowledge I am learning is invaluable, plus I have a student discount card again!”

AAT Apprenticeship

Georgia Fullard, who is a Legal Cashier in our Accounts department, has recently been enrolled in an AAT Level 2 course which provides extra on-the-job training on top of the role she is already doing. Georgia told us about her apprenticeship experience:

“Before starting at Barcan+Kirby, I had no prior experience in the finance/accounting sector. Finance has always been something that I have been interested in and a long-term career goal for me. I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to pursue a career in this sector with Barcan+Kirby. Since starting, my team has been really supportive in helping me learn new things and skills, making the transition into the role really easy and enjoyable.

I accepted the job knowing that I would need to do training to fulfil my role effectively. After reviewing different options on what would be the best for me, it was suggested to start an apprenticeship, which I have recently started. This option fits well with me as I can learn new topics that I have not been through before, but it also allows me to be flexible with my studying hours.

Doing my apprenticeship with Barcan+Kirby makes me feel very supported, not just by the course tutor, but also by my team. I have weekly catch-ups with my tutor and meet regularly with the firm’s HR [Training and Development] Manager to see how I am getting on. I feel enthusiastic about this course and supported by my colleagues.

If you want to learn new skills with a structured learning plan that can fit around your working hours with additional support from all areas, it is a win-win situation!”

How to apply

If you’re interested in applying for any of our Apprenticeships, keep your eyes peeled for new roles on our vacancies page. We will also update our social media pages with new vacancies as soon as they are released.

We do not always advertise our Apprenticeship opportunities externally, but after passing your probation, we will be able to consider your career goals, set objectives and advise on the right development route for you.


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