HUNDREDS of pupils from North Oxfordshire schools will today discover how to get their feet on the career ladder.

North Oxfordshire Academy is hosting a special apprenticeship fair which matches more than 20 employers and career professionals with pupils aged between 15 and 18.

As well as traditional engineering and manufacturing employers, less obvious careers will also be highlighted as potential options.

One expert will be showing how pupils can become a lawyer without having to attend university.

Jen Egginton, regional development officer at the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), is one of the guests at the event held to mark National Apprenticeship Week.

She said: “The apprenticeship route to becoming a qualified lawyer is a great way to get your foot in the door in the legal sector.

“Legal services apprentices will earn as they learn and they will achieve nationally recognised qualifications.

“They will also be able to use these qualifications to become a fully qualified chartered legal executive lawyer.”

Ms Egginton added that the CILEx courses are open to everyone from school leavers to those wanting a change of career.

Part-time and distance learning courses are also available.

Last year’s apprenticeship fair attracted more than 200 attendees and 22 exhibitors.

Anyone interested should turn up at North Oxfordshire Academy on Drayton Road, Banbury from 6-8pm.

Meanwhile, bosses at Cane Lane, Wantage-based construction and engineering firm Stepnell have pledged to have 10 per cent of its workforce made up of apprentices, trainees and graduates.

The firm hopes that its apprenticeship programme, which covers key trades such as joinery, bricklaying, painting and decorating, plant mechanics and groundworks, will attract more young people into construction careers.

Best practice manager Karen Ryan said: “Apprenticeships have played an important role in helping the business attract, train and recruit talented new people.

“They are an investment in our future, our community and our industry.”