BOLTON law firm Keoghs has been awarded ‘Newcomer employer of the Year’ by Damar Training as part of its 2017 apprenticeship awards.

The prize was presented by the specialist training provider as part of National Apprenticeship Week and recognises Keoghs’ dedication to boosting local careers following the successful launch of the firm’s apprenticeship programme in 2016.

Keoghs, one of Bolton’s largest employers with over 1,300 staff across nine locations nationwide, implemented the innovative ‘earn while you learn’ Paralegal Trailblazer Apprenticeship scheme in partnership with Damar to aid those considering a career in the legal profession who may be dissuaded by the prospect of university fees.

The successful candidates are now gaining invaluable, paid experience whilst also beginning their law studies without the associated costs.

The initial intake has proven so successful that the firm intends to employ a further ten apprentices in September 2017.

Damar’s accolade acknowledges the speed and effectiveness with which Keoghs has integrated apprenticeships into its career pathways, along with the potential importance of the programme to both the local community and the firm itself.

Whilst the majority of the intake are focussed on the legal profession, Keoghs’ scheme also provides opportunities for apprenticeships in both IT and People services, aiding growth across the firm’s business structure.

David McIntosh, Keoghs people development manager, said: “Keoghs are delighted to have won the newcomer employer of the year. Our apprenticeship programme was new to us but building it in line with our shared behaviours has guided the firm to create a high quality programme which enables apprentices to progress right through to fully qualified solicitor using successive apprenticeships. This award reflects the professionalism and hard work of a large number of people; from our resourcing team who recruited high potential apprentices, the Damar and Keoghs training team, line managers who have coached and developed their apprentices, and not least our apprentices who have demonstrated how talented and high performing new entrants to the job market can be!”

Jonathan Bourne, Managing Director of Damar Training, said: “The Keoghs programme stood out due to the care they take in not only recruiting the right apprentices but also their diligence in placing them in the right role within the right team to enable their apprentices to have a positive impact on the business from the day they start."