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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.

What is an Apprenticeship in Law?

Apprenticeships give you amazing opportunity to combine work and learning by combining on-the-job training with off-site study. Apprenticeships are flexible and are designed to offer a structured programme of learning to fit around the needs of the individual and the employer. 

During an apprenticeship, you'll be employed while studying, usually for one day a week or over a number of days. By the end of your apprenticeship, you'll have gained the competence (skills, knowledge and experience) needed to succeed in your chosen career and/or progress onto further study.

CILEx is an End Point Assessment Provider for the new Trailblazer Apprenticeships in Law: 

  • Paralegal (Level 3)
  • Chartered Legal Executive (Level 6) 

CILEx also offers the Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services however these are gradually being phased out and will cease by April 2020.

More information on the types of apprenticeships in law available can be found here.

Is it for me?

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, knowledge and experience to develop their careers. 

There are numerous benefits to choosing an apprenticeship. The Government, in partnership with employer groups, have redesigned apprenticeships so that they offer even more opportunities and skills than ever before.

As they have been created with business needs in mind, you can rest assured that you are being trained for success in your chosen field. Apprenticeships will also help you to develop your transferable (or soft) skills, which are highly valued by employers in any sector.

Apprenticeships are employer led. They are funded by the employer organisation and the Government, this means that you will not have to pay your training costs yourself. Apprenticeships are one of the few ways of achieving skills, knowledge and experience without building up significant tuition fee debt.

As you are employed during your apprenticeship, you are entitled to a minimum wage and other statutory benefits (such as sick pay, holiday and maximum working hours) offered to employees. If an employer offers extra benefits to their employees (such as healthcare plans or childcare allowances), then they may also be offered to you too!

Apprenticeships are well suited to those with limited work experience, or to those looking to change their career pathway.  If you meet the minimum entry requirements – you must be 16 by the time you start your apprenticeship - age is no barrier.  Would be apprentices can apply while still studying at school or college – we recommend that you speak with your careers advisors if you are interested in apprenticeships as they can help you with your research and through any application process. 

How do I get started?

Apprenticeships are based on you applying for an apprenticeship vacancy within an organisation, so you will first need to find a legal services provider that is offering the apprenticeship you are looking for. For a legal apprenticeship this may be, for example, a law firm, a private company with its own legal department or a Government department. 

We recommend that you research the organisation you are applying to make sure you understand what they are looking for, and that they are the best fit for you. Legal Apprenticeships are highly sought after and the competition may be tough but a tailored, specific application will get you one step closer to your goal.

Apprenticeships are offered all year round but a popular time for positions to be advertised is at the end of the school/college year; so it is a good idea to start looking before the summer to find the ideal apprenticeship for you. There are a few ways in which you can look for job vacancies:

  • CILEx Recruitment – We advertise employers seeking apprentices on our website. Click here to see what positions are currently available.
  • The Lawyer Portal - CILEx has teamed up with the Lawyer Portal (TLP) which offers a wealth of resources and guides for anyone considering a career in law, whatever their stage or background. 
  • The Government search engine – Using this search engine, you can see all apprenticeships local to you (including legal apprenticeships). You are also able to set up alerts to notify you of any new apprenticeships that become available.
  • Direct applications – You may already have an employer in mind or know of a vacancy. There is no rule against approaching employers directly, as long as it is done in a professional manner. Our MyCareer service can help you to tailor your CV and cover letter to give you the best chance at success.
  • Careers Advice Services – Your school, college, university or local job centre may be able to provide you with advice and point you in the direction of a vacancy.
  • Training Provider websites – Many Training Providers will advertise vacancies on behalf of firms they are working with. This gives you a good opportunity to research your potential training provider and what may be offered as part of the apprenticeship. You can find Training Providers for legal apprenticeships via Google or by contacting them directly.

Once you have found a vacancy, you will need to submit an application or CV for the position. To help you with this, CILEx offers a free tool accessed via MyCareer which can be used to help with tailoring your CV for the roles you are applying for.

Join CILEx – make the most of your apprenticeship!

If you are looking to become a legal apprentice, or even if you have already started on your career journey, you can apply for CILEx professional membership.

As well as becoming part of a well-recognised professional association, CILEx membership offers you access to our exclusive member benefits and a wide network of legal professionals.

More information on membership grade and benefits can be found here.

Need help? Want to talk to someone?

CILEx has friendly and approachable staff on hand to talk through your options and to give guidance on your next step into the world of law. 

Contact our Support Team on +44 (0)1234 845777 or email