Lloyd Davies, Managing director of Convey Law and The conveyancing Academy, talks about how apprenticeships have been the 'life blood' of our company's success.
When we established Convey Law in 2004 we set about building a specialist conveyancing practice with client service at the forefront of everything that we do. Growing our business and building and training our team has undoubtedly been the biggest challenge for us over the years.
By the end of 2021, a year like no other for the history of the conveyancing industry, Team Convey Law is on course to celebrate 100 new team members and a 200-strong workforce. We would never have been able to grow our business as we have without one vital component – our Trainee Conveyancer Apprenticeship Scheme.
Apprenticeships have been the lifeblood of this company, enabling us to attract and recruit talented staff with untapped potential and train them to the highest standards in-house. Conveyancing is now an increasingly popular career pathway for young professionals looking for a speedy and rewarding career in law.
Some of our apprentices have reached the very highest levels at Convey Law, with two of the individuals who currently lead our in-house Conveyancing Academy, recently appointed to the Convey Law Board of Directors. When we practise what we preach – that an apprenticeship in conveyancing provides the very best career prospects – it shows just what can be achieved.
In the last month, our Apprenticeship Trainee Conveyancer Scheme won a national conveyancing training award and the Welsh Government and National Training Federation for Wales Best Medium Employer award at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2021.
Our apprenticeship story started in 2014 when we were faced with a shortfall in our recruitment needs. We were unable to recruit enough experienced conveyancers to meet the growing consumer demand for our services. We needed to find a way to increase the pool of staff we could recruit from. We decided the best way forward was to develop our own training pathway so that we could recruit complete novices with potential, both graduates and non-graduates. We began the journey of developing a dedicated programme which could take a novice to a practising and highly competent conveyancer within 12 months and to a qualified conveyancing professional within 3-4 years, through a series of attainable steps, with qualifications achieved along the journey.
Our methodology of breaking down the apprenticeship programme into attainable audited steps also meant that those with a law degree or other legal qualifications and experience could join the training pathway at a higher level and progress quicker.
Our Conveyancing Pathway provides three clear steps, aligned with academic apprenticeship courses. Trainee Conveyancers use the Conveyancing Academy Practising Conveyancer Legal Diploma to learn the skills they need to become a proficient conveyancing within 6 to 12 months. Conveyancers move onto the CLC Level 4 and Level 6 Apprenticeship courses as they develop and achieve qualification as Licensed Conveyancers within 3 – 4 years, earning and learning as they progress.
The initial 6 to 12 month period of training is undertaken within our Convey Law Training Academy, where specialist conveyancing tutors coach and mentor the Trainee Conveyancers through the rudimentary conveyancing skills, with particular emphasis on customer service. Once trainees are competent and confident in their roles they are seconded to a small team or cohort of conveyancers with a supervisor or principal appointed, with continual mentoring whilst working and practising the skills they are learning.
The training pathway is very transparent, with training milestones rewarded with regular salary increases, making it attractive and life changing for young and aspiring professionals. Specialist course materials are delivered online, which allows us to train prior to the employment start date and helped greatly with training during the pandemic lockdowns. The online system also made it possible to help other legal practices to train their staff and follow our training pathway and protocols.
In the last year alone, Convey Law apprentice numbers have doubled from 15 to 30, enabling us to meet our 2021 growth targets, despite the pandemic. Convey Law are recruiting five new Trainee Conveyancer Apprentices every month for the rest of this year!
The training courses we use have now become industry-leading and are available to other legal practices through the Conveyancing Academy, which we founded in 2019 to offer our courses to the wider conveyancing industry. The Conveyancing Academy is now the official training provider of choice for the Society of Licensed Conveyancers and the Conveyancing Association. The Conveyancing Academy has helped over 100 legal practices to train over 300 current Apprentice Trainee Conveyancers and grow their businesses, adopting the Conveyancing Pathway as detailed above.
The Academy currently has a funding partnership with Cardiff and Vale College to offer its courses free of charge to legal practices in Wales, with similar funding arrangements available for English legal practices. Courses are 95 – 100% Government- funded, allowing legal practices throughout the UK to grow their conveyancing teams quickly and effectively for the first time.
Our experience has been that apprentices stay with the company during their training and beyond, which ensures a cost-effective investment and return. By investing in our Trainee Conveyancers, we are not only investing in our short and long-term future but also ensuring our workforce is trained to the highest industry standards.
Being able to recruit and train young professionals quickly and effectively has allowed us, and those legal practices that we work with, infinite scalability to meet the demands of our business partners and to provide a quality conveyancing service.
What we have achieved has been tremendously successful for Convey Law but any apprenticeship scheme cannot be entirely altruistic. Apprenticeship schemes are of huge importance to the wider economy and local communities, where some regions have suffered more than most from unemployment and the downgrading of traditional industry and the recent scourges of the Pandemic. We have found it tremendously rewarding to provide opportunities to youngsters, to help them grow as individuals and to develop their professional careers in law, quickly and effectively.
Trainee Conveyancer Apprenticeships are corporate social responsibility in action – it is not just paying lip service to doing something socially responsible – they are making a real difference to the lives of the apprentices, the employer organisation and the wider community. We are proud to be a part of this apprenticeship journey and we would recommend it wholeheartedly to others.
For further information about courses and training please contact James Smith at the Conveyancing Academy on email@example.com 261295.
Potential Convey Law trainees should contact Recruitment Manager Warren Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01633 261284.