Apprenticeships in Legal Services
What is an Apprenticeship?
Want to find out more? Why not watch our short video case study by lawyer-to-be Danielle Owen who undertook a legal apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships are ideal for younger people starting out on a new career, an adult looking to make a career change, or an employee who would like to develop their skills and knowledge to gain a promotion. Apprenticeships are flexible and are designed to offer a structured programme of learning to fit around the needs of the individual and the employer.
Learning takes place mainly during employment through the development of ‘on the job’ skills. However there is an 'off the job' training element which usually takes place away from work but on the employer's premises, or at a local college or a specialist training organisation, or through distance learning providers. This off-the-job training is usually done on day release or over a number of days in a block. Both the on and off the job elements of the apprenticeship lead to nationally-recognised qualifications which are awarded by CILEx.
There are two levels of Apprenticeships in Legal Services that students can embark upon. The Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services and the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services.
Is an apprenticeship right for me?
What is the difference between the traditional CILEx route and being a Legal Services Apprentice?
CILEx’s Professional qualifications (at levels 3 and 6) qualify learners to become Chartered Legal Executives. These qualifications are usually undertaken by individuals already working in an administrative role in a legal office who wish to develop their understanding of the law and the way in which it is practised.
A Legal Services Apprentice does not directly study CILEx’s Professional qualifications. A Legal Services Apprentice will study CILEx’s Legal Services qualifications, which have been specially developed to meet the needs of Legal Services Apprentices. These consist of an ‘on the job’ competence qualification and an ‘off the job’ knowledge qualification for both the Advanced and Higher Level Apprenticeships.
The Legal Services qualifications are aimed at a different profile of learner when compared with the Professional qualifications. They will possibly be inexperienced in the world of work generally and will be in need of a system of learning that not only develops and accredits their understanding of the law and its practice, but also their workplace-based competences (both personal and role-related).
They will most likely have been recruited to undertake a job role related to a specific (and possibly highly functionalised) area of legal work (eg litigation executive, RTA portal advisor etc). This learner is most likely to have all of his/her fees for study paid for by public funding and/or the employer. However, this financial support will mean that the period of the apprenticeship will be timed and will need to be completed by a specific date.
The emphasis of the Legal Services qualifications is on both workplace competence and legal knowledge and understanding specific to a role. The legal understanding required to achieve the Legal Services knowledge qualification is more specialised than that required to achieve the Level 3 Professional qualification, it is also true that the Legal Services knowledge qualification contains ‘common units’ with the CILEx Level 3 Professional qualification which ensures that possible breadth of study and progression towards becoming a Chartered Legal Executive is built into the apprenticeship from the outset.