Womble Bond Dickinson has launched its new solicitor apprenticeship scheme with three apprentices based in the firm's Newcastle office.

Peter Black, private wealth apprentice; Ellie Gadsby, property litigation apprentice; and Hope Gallant, residential property apprentice have all enrolled to take part in the higher level 7 apprenticeship, a trailblazing new programme which will eventually see them qualify as solicitors.

The solicitor apprenticeship was launched by a consortium of five law firms, including Womble Bond Dickinson, known as the North East Solicitor Apprenticeship (NESA), which will work in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and City University London.

The apprenticeship will take 6 years to complete and will consist of four years studying towards a law degree run by City University London. Whilst being employed by the firm on a full time basis, the apprentices will be expected to complete distance learning, with study days spent at the law school. For the final two years the apprentices will join the graduate rotation and newly qualified solicitor process.

Kevin Robertson, Partner and Head of Newcastle commented: "Hiring apprentices is absolutely the right thing to do in our sector. We wanted to create alternative routes into the legal profession and open up opportunities for young people who believe that university isn't the best path for them. We take pride in developing home grown talent and this new trailblazing programme, alongside the other apprenticeship schemes we run nationally, ensure a continued pipeline of exceptional and talented people."

Peter Black, solicitor apprentice in the Private Wealth team, said: "I have chosen a career in law as I have always been passionate about it. I enjoy the adaptability of law but also the challenge and practicality of applying the law to various situations. I am grateful to Womble Bond Dickinson and the consortium for giving me the opportunity to fulfil my ambitions and I look forward to working with the team here in Newcastle and beyond."

The North East Solicitor Apprenticeship has been shortlisted in this year's North East Equality Awards for the Groups Making a Difference Award and Outstanding Practice Award.

Newcastle apprentices