The PLS Academy as it will be known, will concentrate on taking new starters who are new to the world of conveyancing with the aim of turning them into knowledgeable professionals in just a few short months, where they will then have the opportunity to join over 100 staff already working in conveyancing at PLS.
For Hayley Walker, Training and Development Manager at PLS Solicitors, the Academy is the first step towards a tailored programme for staff. She says, “The Academy has been in the planning for some time now. We noticed that for new team members, joining the company will be their first introduction to conveyancing and that can be quite daunting. By going through the Academy, we hope that the structured environment and on the job learning will boost their confidence so that they can find their feet quickly and easily.”
The Academy will start with an Introduction to conveyancing, largely classroom based, which will teach the students the conveyancing aspects of buying, selling and re-mortgaging houses, how to read a file correctly and the supportive tasks they might be asked to perform. After 4-days of this, the students will be given some practical tasks to do, mainly post-completion based.
These will include dealing with the title information documents and making sure they are properly recorded with the Land Registry. These supportive administration tasks is something that Hayley thinks is important for everyone to learn. She says, “We see a lot of new members of staff who simply lack the confidence asking their colleagues for support or perhaps on the phone to customers because they don’t understand the whole process of conveyancing and very often it is their first customer facing role. This course will take them through each part step-by-step with some practical based work to support the theory.”
The aim of the Academy is to act as a feeder to support the legal teams and recruitment needs, Hayley and fellow trainer Peter Hagan will be on hand to support the first cohort of the Academy while also looking to further refine the training needs down the line. “We just can’t wait to get started, we’ve been working on it for so long,” adds Hayley.
Together they have created additional materials, such as a beginners handbook, to help the students. Peter will serve as the team mentor, ready to check-in and answer any questions.
“We find that with the younger generation they prefer to have more feedback,” says Hayley. “Although we are positioning the Academy as relevant to any age group, we understand that for younger people, they can require a little more hands-on support, so they will be based in the Academy for the first 3-6 months of their start date and longer if required.”
Once Hayley and Peter are satisfied that the learner has had enough support and there is a vacancy in a suitable team, there is nothing stopping the Academy participant from moving into that team. “Some of them might absolutely fly with a bit more training and support and we’re here to help them. There are no specific timelines that say in 3 months we expect them to do X.”
As for Hayley, the Academy is just the first step in a new, overall training and development system for staff at PLS but for now, she hopes that this new academy class in-take is the start of many more to come.
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