Barclays joins ranks of corporates offering in-house training contracts

Barclays Banks investment banking arm is joining the handful of FTSE100 companies that offer training contracts within their in-house legal departments.

Barclays Capital (BarCap) has hired five trainee solicitors, who are due to start their training contracts in September 2007. BarCap, which has a 245-strong legal team, is finalising the structure of the programme. If the scheme is successful Barclays hopes to extend it to other parts of the group.

The news of BarCaps scheme comes after research by Lawyer 2B revealed that just 14.9 per cent of FTSE100 companies offer training contracts.

FTSE100 companies offering training contracts include Aviva, BAE Systems, BG Group, HBOS, HSBC, Persimmon, Reuters, Scottish & Southern Energy, Standard Life and Vodafone. Construction specialist Persimmon is planning to take its trainee intake to two next year.

Those companies that do not offer training contracts cited a number of different reasons for their decisions. Royal Dutch Shell does not employ its own trainees, but takes on two or three from its panel firms. UK general counsel Richard Wiseman said: Were always thinking about it, but were very conscious of the resources you need to give first-class training.

The head of legal at consumer packaging company Rexam David Gibson said his company does not offer training contracts because it couldnt provide the guidance and management a trainee would need.

Brewing giant SABMiller cited similar reasons, while Drax highlighted that it did not have a sufficiently large in-house legal capability to cater for trainees.

Most of the companies that hire trainees do not have a structured application process in place. HSBC, for instance, only offers training contracts to
individuals who are already employed elsewhere in the group. Aviva does have a formal trainee programme, and out of its three current trainees one was recruited externally, while the other two were already employed by the company as paralegals.

NickCreed,business director in the commerce and industry team at legal recruiter Hays, said: The most common route to obtaining an in-house training contract is by doing work experience at the company or by working as a paralegal.