Professional apprenticeships are a growth area for many businesses across the West Midlands, as more young people opt to forgo university in order to ‘earn while they learn’.
Black Country law firm Higgs & Sons currently has four apprentices who receive a salary for their practical on-the-job training while also studying for a qualification.
Nick Brindley, 22 and from Halesowen, is a finance apprentice who has been at Higgs & Sons for two years, and says it is the best place he has ever worked.
“There is a real ‘can do’ attitude from everyone at Higgs which is really inspirational and helps me as I learn new things.
“I am currently studying my level 4 AAT qualification, the final level within AAT, the final level within AAT. I hope that once I have completed this level I can continue with my professional progression here at Higgs, utilising my new knowledge while being part of Higgs’ ongoing success.
“I love that there is always something happening that pulls the team together for a good cause, such as charity events and fundraisers – all the staff are really friendly, and I have made lots of close friends.”
Megan Harron is a 19-year-old Business Development apprentice from Halesowen, who joined Higgs in September.
She said: “Higgs is a great organisation to work for and I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to complete my apprenticeship here. I firmly believe that this opportunity will allow me to progress and grow to then take me onto the next stage of my career.”
Lucas Chance, an IT apprentice, is from Stourbridge. The 19-year-old said: “I’m really enjoying learning about how IT is utilised in a law firm and the processes we have to go through on a daily basis. Hopefully my apprenticeship will enable me to increase my knowledge and learn new ways in which it can be implemented.”
Owen Bayliss, 16 and from Rowley Regis is also an IT apprentice. He said: “After leaving secondary school this year, Higgs has been a breath of fresh air.
“The past two months have flown by, as I have learned not only technicalities within IT but also general skills that benefit the team. In the future, I hope that this learning curve continues and that I grow more confident with the systems we have in place.”
Managing Partner at Higgs & Sons, Paul Hunt, said: “We put great value on our apprentices, and it is pleasing to see this professional route being recognised as a valid alternative to university. Not only are our apprentices making a valuable contribution to the firm, they are gaining real life experience and insight into the world of work.”