Brethertons is a highly successful and rapidly expanding firm of solicitors, employing 270 staff in 3 offices in Banbury, Bicester and Rugby. Last year, they were recognised in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, which is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds and recognises excellence in businesses that employ Apprentices.

As well as providing Apprenticeship opportunities for school leavers, the firm also uses Apprenticeships to train and develop existing staff members. The Apprenticeship scheme fits very well with the business in that they work hard to develop and retain people and it also enables them to plan for the future. 

HR Partner Deborah Atkins says: “We like nothing better than to employ local people. It can be a challenge to attract good people, so we think it’s better to grow your own! That also gives us the opportunity to show them our way of doing things – our standards, service levels – and everyone buys into the culture from day one.”

Emma Farrow, Legal Apprentice
Emma Farrow, 18, studied A Levels in English Literature, Politics, Psychology and History at North Oxfordshire Academy in Banbury, gaining two As and two Bs. She applied to study law at university whilst also investigating alternative pathways into a legal career. 

Emma says: “I am more of a practical than theoretical learner and didn’t really enjoy the research side of my A Levels.  My Dad suggested that an Apprenticeship might suit my learning style better than a university degree and might be the best route for me.”

Emma went to the North Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Fair at North Oxfordshire Academy in March, where she visited the Brethertons stand. She had the opportunity to talk to Legal Apprentice Edward Arnold and find out all about Brethertons’ Apprenticeship scheme from HR Partner Deborah Atkins.

Emma applied for a Legal Apprenticeship with Brethertons and joined the firm in June 2015, just after completing her A Levels. She is now studying towards a Level 3 Apprenticeship and a CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) qualification, the same as her law graduate colleagues. She finds that the off the job learning integrates well with the day job and she has a designated tutor who comes to the office every week to check that everything is going well.

Emma says: “It’s great! I’m really enjoying it. In my job, I do the same things as everyone else and I don’t get treated any differently because I’m an Apprentice. I would advise a young person to look at both the Apprenticeship and university route and don’t rule anything out. Different learning styles suit different people.”

Sarah Mobbs, former Business Admin Apprentice
Sarah Mobbs, 19, completed GCSEs at Banbury School. She decided that she didn’t want to spend more time in a classroom but would like to join a business and work her way up. She first joined Brethertons at 16 as a Level 2 Business Admin Apprentice and after securing a permanent role with the firm, went on to complete a Level 3 Business Admin Apprenticeship.

A colleague’s maternity leave gave her the opportunity to become a team leader at the firm’s Bicester office for a year. Sarah knew that she wanted to work in family law and went on to join the law department as a secretary in June 2015. She is now working towards a level 2 CILEx qualification, which will enable her to specialise as a legal secretary.  

Sarah says: “It was the right decision for me to leave school when I did, after my GCSEs. I’ve had lots of opportunities since I started working here. My confidence has grown massively too, especially in my first year. It’s been the making of me!”

Deborah says: “Sarah has worked extremely hard since joining Brethertons and has been very focussed. Studying and working at the same time can be a tough challenge, but Sarah’s hard work and motivation are really paying off.

Both Sarah and Emma could continue their training and become solicitors from their current positions. I am really proud of them and will be even prouder to see them achieve that! It’s really fantastic to be able to give young people a good start to their careers.

  • Hannah Wright
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