The University of Law (ULaw) has launched a new solicitor apprenticeship programme for 2017. The programme, which started on 25th September, is designed to create successful partnerships between the University, employers and apprentices to meet the requirements of the Government’s employer-led trailblazer standard for solicitor qualification.
A number of law firms and employers have already signed up to the ULaw programme, with a total of 28 apprentices starting this year having passed their A levels or progressing from successful completion of paralegal programmes. Among these are law firms Gowling WLG (Birmingham office), Fieldfisher (in London and Manchester) and Plexus Law (in Leeds, London and Manchester).
The new ULaw six-year solicitor apprenticeship programme has a practical focus and aims to equip apprentices with a thorough understanding of core legal subjects, with an in-depth practical implementation.
A combination of work-based and online supervised study, together with practical and academic activities at ULaw campuses will prepare apprentices to undertake the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam Parts 1 and 2. Apprentices who successfully complete these assessments will be entitled to apply to the SRA to be admitted as solicitors at the end of the programme.
In addition, apprentices will also complete ULaw assessments, providing them with the opportunity to be awarded an LLB in Legal Practice and Skills (Hons) from ULaw. As well as supporting the apprentices academically, ULaw will build on their experience of working closely with employers to ensure competencies in the workplace are developed and nurtured throughout.
The apprenticeship uses a blended learning method to ensure the programme reaches all geographical locations across England, widening opportunities for participation and is designed so that it can be tailored to the role undertaken by the apprentice and develop the practical skills employers require.
Jason O’Malley, Director of Apprenticeships at ULaw, said: “We are excited to start our new apprenticeship programme for this year which we have developed in close partnership with a number of law firms and employers nationally. At ULaw we are committed to providing world-class education and training and widening access to the legal profession, so it is particularly good to see stories of continuing success, for example where former paralegal apprentices are being given the opportunity to qualify as solicitors via this new route. The employers we work with from both private practice and public sector recognise the determination and commitment required from apprentices but also the great benefits they can bring to the legal workplace. We look forward to continuing to work with them to provide a strong apprenticeship offering to suit their individual needs.”
Lucy Dolan, Early Talent Resourcing Manager at Gowling WLG in Birmingham, said: “We have a strong relationship with ULaw through our existing LPC training programme. The three apprentices from our firm who will start the ULaw solicitor apprenticeship programme have already proven themselves as valuable employees during their previous paralegal apprenticeships with us and we look forward to supporting them as they embark on this new venture.”
Emma Cox, Head of HR at Fieldfisher, said: "Ensuring that we have diversity of talent is increasingly important. Our clients are from a wide range of sectors, many of which do not always recruit from traditional backgrounds or via established channels. If we are to best meet their objectives, we need to have teams advising them which are more representative of the communities in which they operate. The Government has been incredibly forward thinking in incentivising companies to take on apprentices and we would certainly urge others to embrace them as we have.”
For further information please contact:
Chiara Barreca/ Danae Quek/ Richard Billinge
Telephone: 020 3697 4200