15/04/2011

Yorkshire law firm Gordons launches annual legal apprenticeship programme

Five bright youngsters, who might otherwise find it difficult to enter the legal profession, will have the opportunity to become apprentice lawyers thanks to a new annual programme launched by Yorkshire law firm Gordons.

From this September, the UK top 100 firm will recruit and train a fresh intake of apprentices each year who have the ability to gain high levels of skills and qualifications without attending University. Gordons will pay the apprentices’ salaries and also fund their fees to train as legal executives, over a period of four years with the course fees alone representing an investment of over £32,500.

The apprenticeships are the idea of Gordons Managing Partner, Paul Ayre, who was inspired to act after seeing the BBC programme Who Gets the Best Jobs? which examined how privilege effects access to professions in modern Britain.

Paul said: “The programme highlighted that social mobility in Britain today is reduced from that of 20 years ago. The legal profession has many barriers to entry which can work against people who would otherwise have the ability to forge successful careers in the law.

“One of the barriers is the need to be University educated. For a variety of reasons not all bright and ambitious 17 and 18-year-olds are able to go on to further education. Our idea is to create opportunities for some of these.”

The firm’s apprenticeship programme was developed ahead of the Government’s announcement to create an annual “report card” to tackle and improve social mobility. Gordons has already approached a number of schools and colleges in Leeds and Bradford, where its offices are located, and is discussing appropriate candidates with teaching staff.

Individuals will be interviewed by Gordons partners before a group of ten work experience candidates are selected to begin working at the firm in July this year. After ongoing assessment of the ten, five people within the group will be offered the four-year apprenticeships which begin in September.

Paul continued: “Gordons has always operated as a meritocracy and we pride ourselves on being progressive in everything we do. The apprenticeships are a natural extension of these values. As well as doing our small bit to help create new jobs for some youngsters, we hope to unearth some really talented and driven individuals”.

To find out more about Gordons Apprenticeship Programme or to apply for a place on the scheme, please click here.