The government has released new information about the apprenticeship scheme, including the apprenticeship levy and guidance for latest employers.
Apprenticeships are high profile at the moment as the government is committed to delivering three million apprenticeships in this parliament. This is equivalent to more than one apprentice starting every minute of every day until 2020. It is now possible to qualify as a solicitor, paralegal or chartered legal executive by completing an apprenticeship.
We are in favour of alternative routes into the profession as long as they meet the same high standards as the current route.
We are very keen to find out more about the level of interest in legal apprenticeships among our members, and how the Law Society could be helping members. To share your views or provide feedback, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about the apprenticeships levy and how it works, watch our free webinar: LawTalk: Apprenticeships levy - Making the most of the levy for City firms.
We have produced a booklet of five case studies to help employers understand why businesses are recruiting apprentices and highlighting some of the issues which need to be considered.
Mike Potter, partner and head of the Transaction Services Team at international law firm Addleshaw Goddard, discusses how his firm has benefitted from the recruitment of apprentices.
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Firms and their apprentices share their experience with us
The government agenda on apprenticeships is driven by a concern that UK productivity is much lower than comparable economies such as Germany and the US. This they attribute, in part, to a serious decline in employer investment in training over the last 20 years (PDF 317kb). There are also widespread concerns about the quality of some apprenticeships on offer.
Government-approved legal apprenticeships have been around for a long time, but they are set at levels below full qualification. In England, three new 'Trailblazers for law' apprenticeships will now replace the earlier legal apprenticeships, and all apprenticeship funding will be directed towards Trailblazers from 2017.
The new English legal apprenticeship, due to start in September 2016, are called 'Trailblazer' apprenticeships, and have been developed in the last few years by law firms (the 'trailblazers') with input by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). The key difference with Trailblazer apprenticeships is that they lead to the full qualification.
Each of the legal apprenticeship standards and assessment plans were approved and published by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) in September 2015. The SRA has stated that the solicitor apprenticeship will be evaluated by assessment.
Apprenticeships are a devolved issue. Wales introduced a similar initiative in September 2015, leading to the creation of a Level 7 Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Practice.
The funding for apprenticeships is currently in a state of flux. Following consultation, the government announced in November that all employers with pay bills in excess of £3 million will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy of 0.5 per cent of their pay bill. This is due to come into effect in April 2017 (via the Finance Bill). The levy will apply to England and Wales, even though skills policy is a devolved matter. Using Office for National Statistics data and our own data, we estimate that at least 258 firms (2.7 per cent of firms) will be subject to the apprenticeship levy.
We understand from our regional managers that there is quite a high level of usage and interest in apprenticeships. Firms see apprenticeships as a means to:
See the assistance provided by CIPD to employers considering taking on apprentice.
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We are keen to find out more about the level of interest in legal apprenticeships among our members, and how we could be helping members. To share your views or provide feedback, please contact us at email@example.com