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Leading law firm Harper Macleod reveals 1-in-10 of its people came through Modern Apprentice scheme

Harper Macleod has revealed that 10% of its people joined the firm through a Modern Apprenticeship scheme as the firm marked Scottish Apprenticeship Week by celebrating its most recent graduates.

The firm was visited by MSP James Kelly as its the latest batch of Modern Apprentices qualified and took up positions within the business. Harper Macleod, which pays a Scottish living wage to all recruits, has been a trailblazer for the Modern Apprentice scheme in Scotland, having brought through almost 70 over the past decade, including 42 since 2017. Of these, the firm has retained more than 75% in the business post qualification.

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One of the biggest law firms in the country, Harper Macleod now has Modern Apprentices in every office around the country. Some of these recruits have since gone on to take a wide range of roles within the firm – from paralegals to the HR team, and from training support to marketing.

Martin Darroch, Chief Executive of Harper Macleod, said: "Almost all of the young apprentices we've taken on have been trained and retained following the apprenticeship's conclusion and it is something we're very proud of.

"A key objective of the firm is to be seen as a firm of choice which offers market leading opportunities for career and personal development. We recognise that our people are critical to our ongoing business success and as a result, we go to great lengths to ensure that we recruit the right people.

"We have always worked on a "grow your own" basis and Apprenticeships give the opportunity for young people to grow into the right role for them across the various departments in the firm. At the same time, the grounding they have been given through their apprenticeship allows them to give their experience and value to the firm. Post Apprenticeship, it is our aim to keep on those with the right attitude and drive to put our clients first. What we've found is that you give people the opportunity and the right support, they will flourish.

James Kelly MSP said: "It was great to visit Harper MacLeod as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2020. I was impressed by the modern apprentices who told me how they are utilising the apprenticeship scheme to expand their knowledge and develop their skills. It was clear from my visit that these young apprentices will go on to make a significant contribution in their field."

Ray Smith, Regional Delivery Manager of training body QA, which supports the MA programme at Harper Macleod, highlighted the firm as an example for others to follow when it comes to engaging with the modern apprenticeship programme.

He said: “Having partnered with Harper Macleod for almost a decade, we have a fantastic working relationship and the support that the firm gives to apprentice learners is second to none. Gaining qualifications is hugely important, but where Harper Macleod stands out is in providing a platform for young people to truly start a career. As a business it has an ethos of mentoring, retention and progression, offering permanent positions to so many apprentices and giving them the opportunity to find a job that suits them. They are a shining example of a forward-thinking organisation embracing modern apprenticeships and what they can provide for young people and employers alike."

The Modern Apprentices work towards a range of qualifications including SCQF 6 in Business Administration, in Digital Applications Support and also the PC Passport. Receiving their qualifications over the past few months have been: Eden Nutini, Rhiannon Simpson, Sam Steele, Olivia Stein and Megan Young.

Rhiannon Simpson, who came into the firm on a Modern Apprenticeship and has now taken up a permanent role within the firm's Marketing team said: "When I first started my Modern Apprenticeship in Harper Macleod I couldn't believe the opportunities for progression within the firm. I was always supported during my Apprenticeship and it gave me the opportunity to have a full time job while also learning and earning qualifications. I am now progressing with my career in the Marketing team which was where I had always set my sights on being."