CILEx CEO sees take-up difficulty for solicitor apprenticeship scheme

Diane Burleigh, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), has warned that take up for BPP Law School’s legal apprenticeship scheme may be limited.

Commenting on the plans outlined by skills minister Matthew Hancock last month, Burleigh said “whilst there may be financial benefits [for students], what I think will limit take up of this as a route is the length of time it is likely to take to qualify.”

Hancock, writing in The Telegraph last month, outlined Government plans for the schemes in professions such as law and accountancy under which level six and seven apprenticeships – equivalent to bachelors or masters degrees – will be officially recognised for the first time later this year.

He said that BPP is in talks with regulators over a programme it is developing for school leavers aiming to become solicitors through a non-traditional path that bypasses the need for a university degree.

BPP has not yet released details of the scheme which is expected to launch in September.

Burleigh pointed out that people already have the ability to become solicitors without a degree via the CILEx route and said “certainly some people will be interested in this as an alternative but I don’t see this challenging either what we do or the university degree route.”

The news comes after a number of firms launched their own apprenticeship schemes enabling students to qualify as legal executives.

Kennedys last year unveiled a scheme to train litigation executives, whom it pays between £14,000 and £18,000 for the first year of a programme lasting up to three years (6 February 2012).

Other firms with legal apprenticeship schemes include DWF, Gordons, Irwin Mitchell, Minster Law, Parabis Law and Pinsent Masons (17 November 2012).