Swindon law firm Bower & Bailey is reaping the benefits of its strong links with New College Swindon, with apprentice Natasha Welsh flourishing at the multi-branch firm of solicitors.
Natasha, 21, joined Bower & Bailey as an apprentice in April 2014. After studying business at New College for three years, she wanted to go straight into full-time employment. Natasha found the office administration opening at Bower & Bailey through the National Apprenticeship website. Since joining the firm, she’s gained hands-on experience by helping out with events, such as the recent networking evening at John Lewis.
Natasha continues to study while working at Bower & Bailey. She has completed two exams, Units 1 and 2 of her business course, and is currently preparing for the Unit 3 assessment. Natasha has also completed the ICT Functional Skills Level 2 course at New College.
Apprenticeships enable young people to work for a real employer and earn a real salary. Apprentices gain workplace skills and experience while continuing to study. Many school leavers taking apprenticeships are earning more than university graduates.
Speaking of her experience, Natasha said: “It has been a steep learning curve and a great introduction to working life. I would really recommend an apprenticeship. Everyone at Bower & Bailey is very supportive and I’ve made good friends here. The firm offers a great work experience and I’m looking forward to learning more about the profession and developing my career.”
Simon Smith, partner at Bower & Bailey, said: “We’re always looking to give young people a chance to get vocational experience. We took on our first apprentice last year and it’s been a great success. We’re keen to develop our links with New College and provide more career opportunities for young people.”
Natasha’s apprenticeship runs until May 2015. Impressed with the work she has produced and her commitment to the position, Bower & Bailey is eager for her development to continue as she is seen as a future legal secretary.
The firm works closely with Fast Forward Training and Development, the organisation within New College responsible for training 4,000 apprentices every year across the south west. Fast Forward has been part of New College, where it offers 75 courses, since 1996.
Erica O’Flynn, employer engagement officer at New College, said: “Apprenticeships benefit young people and businesses. We’re delighted that Bower & Bailey has embraced this initiative and is promoting it across Swindon.”
Looking after the interests of private and commercial clients in the UK and abroad since 1973, Bower & Bailey provides a full range of legal services from its offices across southern England.
Pictured above: Natasha Welsh, apprentice at Bower & Bailey