Posted on July 16, 2018 at 2:55 pm
Solicitor Apprenticeships – Jason O’Malley, Director of Apprenticeships, at the University of Law explains the benefits of the Solicitor Apprenticeship route to qualification and how, in particular, many non-levy paying firms are unaware of the excellent opportunity available to them:
A new way to qualify as a Solicitor
Did you know that since 2016 it has been possible to qualify as a solicitor via an apprenticeship route? In addition, whilst levy paying firms are able to utilise their levy funds, non-levy paying firms are able to have 90% of the training costs paid for by the Government. Whilst there have been shorter paralegal level apprenticeships in existence for a number of years, many firms are now helping their staff qualify as solicitors to full qualification.
In recent years the Government has encouraged universities to develop degree level apprenticeship programmes. The solicitor apprenticeship is just one of many programmes to have launched or be in development.
Apprentices work and study over a 5-6 year period, within an employment contract. Individuals on the solicitor programme do not incur any student debt, but still have the opportunity to undertake an LLB and the SRA’s new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). On successful completion of the SQE and a qualifying work experience, apprentices will be admitted to the roll, subject to satisfying the SRA’s character and suitability test.
Law firms across the country are already taking advantage of this opportunity, using it to attract new talent into the firm or enabling existing staff to upskill themselves and in so doing increase their staff retention rates.
So how could this work for your firm?
• Apprentices can be new recruits or existing staff. There are no age limits so there are currently school leavers, paralegals progressing from a lower level apprenticeship and examples of existing support staff all being given the opportunity to qualify via this route. (Minimum entry criteria are three A levels at grade C and above and 5 GCSEs including Maths and English).
• Each apprentice is working toward the SQE assessment and as a prerequisite to this has to develop a work-based portfolio of evidence based on the statement of solicitor competency and the requirements of the SQE.
• A dedicated solicitor assessor from the University of Law will work with the supervising solicitor to ensure this happens.
• The apprentice must, in accordance with the funding rules, be given one day a week to study. The programme at the University of Law has been designed to allow flexibility for each employer to choose when this protected time for off-the-job training is scheduled each week.
• Apprentices study via a blended programme supported with live webinars and some face-to-face sessions.
For more information on the benefits for your firm, see our Head of Apprenticeships’ guide: https://www.law.ac.uk/apprenticeships/employer/
And to hear what our apprentices think: https://www.law.ac.uk/apprenticeships/students/
How is this paid for?
In 2017 the Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy. Employers whose payroll exceeds £3 million p.a. pay a 0.5% tax on their total UK payroll. In England, these central Government funds are then allocated for the provision of apprenticeship training.
Apprenticeships are funded either fully via the Government for levy paying firms, who are essentially recouping their levy, or on a co-funded basis for firms who are not paying in to the levy, or who have exhausted their levy. Here 90% of cost is paid by the Government and employers contribute just 10% of the cost in monthly payments spread over the course of the programme.
For more information on the programme, its benefits for employers and apprentices, please contact the University of Law firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of Law is the UK’s longest-established specialist provider of legal education and training in the UK, with campuses in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Guildford, Manchester and Leeds, as well as collaborations with The University of Exeter, The University of Reading and The University of Liverpool. Previously The College of Law, it was granted university status in November 2012.
We specialise in teaching and focus our energy on developing innovative, highly effective teaching and learning methods that equip students for their professional career. We have more than 250 qualified and experienced solicitors, barristers and judges as our tutors, enabling us to help students develop the practical skills that can make all the difference when starting a career in law.
To speak directly to our specialist account managers:
Tel: 01483 216062 or Mobile: 07770 496046
Tel: 01483 216842 or Mobile: 07816 177922
Tel: 01483 216112 or Mobile: 07816 282893