Tuesday 26th June 2018

Apprenticeships in the Legal Sector

Sally Swift, Head of Legal Support Services at Browne Jacobson, recently gave her thoughts on Apprenticeships within the Legal Sector and discussed the changes that 3aaa have been able to bring into the business:

“Since 2016, there have been lots of changes across the legal education landscape. We have seen the introduction of Legal Apprenticeships via Trailblazers, which now offer opportunities to enter the profession and climb the career ladder without the traditional law degree.

With the costs of legal education consistently rising and training contracts being in extremely high demand, these new apprenticeships have provided access to a profession that some historically thought was inaccessible to them.

Having an apprenticeship that allows someone to secure a role within a law firm and access education that will see them qualify as a Solicitor, Chartered Legal Executive or Paralegal has been something that the legal sector has lacked for some time.

A more socially accessible profession is now emerging and these changes bring about exciting challenge to tradition.

From 2020 there are also T Levels on the horizon, on a par with A Levels, a ‘Technical Level’ qualification will provide young people with a choice between technical and academic post 16 education, and these new opportunities will all hopefully address the skills challenges still faced in the legal and other sectors.

There is a need for high level skills, and everyone should have access to high level qualifications. It is therefore pleasing that the Government are currently reviewing all Post-16 Level 3 qualifications and below to make sure that all entry qualifications are of high standard, so people can start on the right path and gain useful skills and experience when they begin their career.

Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, at Browne Jacobson, we have strategically created more apprenticeship opportunities and invested our levy funds in developing our existing team members and also recruiting new colleagues, taking an ‘apprentice first’ mind-set to our recruitment strategy.

Partnering with 3aaa has allowed us to learn from their expertise, knowledge, experience and educational insight so we can not only fulfil our growth plans, with apprentices featuring very much at the heart of how we develop our people, but we look to utilise almost 100% of our levy funds to support our development needs.

I do believe that there is still a surprising lack of knowledge about apprenticeships though, especially as we are 1 year post levy introduction.

Change from Frameworks to Standards is a step in the right direction, making sure the qualifications are robust and represent the sectors that have been involved in their developments via Trailblazers.

Greater action is needed however, from the Institute of Apprenticeships and businesses working together to make apprenticeships, the answer that will fill the skills gap that runs across all sectors, not just law firms.

Businesses need to partner with a training provider who can assist in the whole apprenticeship arena. Often clarity is needed about DAS Payments, 20%-off-the-job training, further development pathways and guidance about how a business can build future workforces that are inclusive, agile and sustainable but ultimately will improve skills across all sectors. 3aaa have, and continue, to meet our expectations for all of the above and I would, without hesitation, recommend them to anyone still unsure about apprenticeships, the levy or workforce development planning.”

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