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.
Apprenticeships can serve as a route into the legal profession, provide an upskilling tool for existing staff or help to develop skilled staff in the support services of your firm. As apprenticeships are a devolved matter, the pages below distinguish between the rules in each jurisdiction.
Firms see apprenticeships as a means to:
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 their firms. To share your views or provide feedback, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Apprenticeships are designed around the needs of the employer and can help transform your business by bringing in fresh talent. Apprentices work alongside experienced employees to gain on the job skills while receiving outside training from an approved training provider.
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Apprenticeships are full-time jobs which incorporate on- and off-the-job training. Since 2016, new legal apprenticeships are being offered as an alternative to the traditional graduate route to qualification, and it is now possible to qualify as a solicitor, paralegal, probate technician or chartered legal executive by completing an apprenticeship. The Law Society is in favour of alternative routes into the profession such as apprenticeships, as long as they meet the same high standards as the traditional routes.
The standards expected of apprentice solicitors are the same as those expected of all solicitors, with rigorous assessments before they are admitted to the profession. These apprenticeships have been developed by law firms (the 'trailblazers') with input by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx).
Across the UK apprenticeships are being recognised as an effective entry point into the workplace. The case studies we collect and publish on our website aim to showcase these success stories in the legal sector, both from the perspective of the employer and the apprentice.
The training providers play a vital role in the process of delivery of apprenticeships by working with firms to develop tailored programmes. They can provide advertising and interview support and deliver the training, based on the business requirements and culture of the organisation.
The current list of training providers delivering the solicitor apprenticeships in England can be found below:
*The asterisk indicates that training offered by this provider is available to both levy and non-levy payers. Find out more
Although apprenticeships are a devolved matter, Welsh apprenticeships have also been developed in collaboration with Welsh businesses. Employers can start an apprenticeship programme by expressing their interest online at SkillGateway. The website contains a form enabling access to information and advice on setting up a scheme. In order to start an apprenticeship programme, employers must choose a training provider who will deliver the apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships can be used as part of the continuing professional development of already qualified solicitors. Learning accessed through leadership and management apprenticeships can deepen apprentices’ skills and knowledge whilst allowing them to receive external recognition for their quality of practice. There is a suite of apprenticeships for people at all levels of management, including a master’s degree.
Find out more about legal education and training
From May 2017, any employer with a pay bill of more than £3 million will contribute 0.5 per cent of that pay bill, as a levy, towards the funding of apprenticeships. Once they have declared the levy to HM Revenue and Customs, employers will be able to access funding for apprenticeships through a digital account. The funding available to an employer in England will depend on what proportion of their pay bill is paid to employees living in England.
Employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy will pay 10 per cent of the cost of training their apprentices and the government will pay 90 per cent. The training provider will invoice the employer directly. All employers will need to meet any costs above the funding band limit for any particular apprenticeship. All the details about how the funding works are explained in our guidance for legal sector employers on funding for legal apprenticeships (PDF).
Government and digital account funding, including levy contributions, can only be spent on training, education and assessment, including the end point assessment and is not to be used for wages or incidental costs, such as travel. For a comprehensive list of the permissible uses of funding, see the Skills Funding Agency’s Apprenticeship funding: rules and guidance for levy-paying employers guide (pages 13-15).
Use the funding calculator to estimate your apprenticeship levy spend, how much funding your organisation will have available to spend on apprenticeships and how much the government will contribute towards the cost of training. 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.
To give employers more flexibility and help larger employers to support apprenticeships in smaller organisations, the Education and Skills Funding Agency now lets firms transfer some of their apprenticeship funding.
The allowance is 10 per cent of employer’s annual funds, which is calculated from the total amount of levy declared during the previous tax year. Employers can find out what their transfer allowance is by logging into their apprenticeship service account. To find out more about how the transfer works, please watch the Law Society podcast below:
Other useful links can be found in the resource section below.
Although the levy is collected across the whole of the UK by HM Revenue and Customs through the PAYE system, the Welsh Government will continue to deliver its apprenticeship programme via the Welsh apprenticeship provider network. There are no plans to operate a voucher system as in England. More information can be found on the SkillsGateway website.
> Institute for Apprenticeships > Education and Skills Funding Agency > National Apprenticeship Service > Register of apprenticeship training providers
> Apprenticeships in the legal sector brochure > Law Management Section: on the up > Case studies > Guidance for legal sector employers on funding for legal apprenticeships > Law Society blog: crack on with your career: legal apprenticeships > Law Gazette: how to prepare for apprenticeships
> Case study: Promoting social mobility in the legal sector through apprenticeships
> Transferring unused apprenticeship funds to other employers > 7 pointers to help employers prepare for transfers on the apprenticeship service > Apprenticeship levy: how it will work > Apprenticeships > Employer guide to apprenticeships and traineeships> Apprenticeship law standards> Apprenticeship standards: employers' guide (PDF 78kb)> Apprenticeships (in England): vision for 2020> Apprenticeship Ambassador Network
> SRA blog: raising awareness of the legal apprenticeship > SRA news release: SRA signs up for Trailblazers apprenticeship scheme
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To share your views on how we could be helping members in legal apprenticeships, please contact us at email@example.com