The University of Law has launched an “articled apprenticeship” programme for school leavers, which allows candidates to qualify as solicitors in six years.
The programme will see candidates spend four years on a part-time undergraduate law degree and 18 months on a part-time legal practice course while also working at a law firm.
The first firm to sign up to the scheme is North West outfit Hillyer McKeown, which offers both private client and commercial services. The firm has stated it will pay trainees ‘a competitive salary’ but would not disclose details on wages.
While working, the apprentices will attend around 45 workshops per year at the University of Law. Whether or not fees are paid by the trainee, the employing firm or by a combination of the two will depend on the firm. In this case, Hillyer McKeown will not cover the cost of training, which will instead be paid by the trainees themselves.
University of Law CEO and president John Latham said: “The articled apprenticeship is about opening doors to the profession and building inclusivity and diversity.
“Articled apprenticeships can be used to help current employees develop further and to recruit young talent. They offer an alternative route to qualification as a solicitor for those who would rather be in a job while they study, thereby reducing their debt while still qualifying as a solicitor in six years.”
The new programme has been launched as result of the rule changes by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which recently started to allow trainee solicitors to combine their on-the-job “period of recognised training” while studying.
The phrase ‘articled apprenticeship’ has connotations of ‘articled clerkship’, which was the previous term for a training contract.