Industry to benefit from government funding for new Legal Services Higher Apprenticeship

Led by Pearson in Practice with The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), Damar Training and Skills for Justice the legal services industry has secured almost £1m of Government funding to create 750 Higher Apprenticeships by March 2015.

The Higher Apprenticeship will offer work-based learning qualifications such as a Level 4 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills, as well as knowledge-based, technical qualifications equivalent to a Foundation Degree.

With the increasing demand for talented and qualified paralegals, added to the well-published increase in tuition fees likely to see a more competitive market for graduates, the Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services will target young people with enthusiasm for a paralegal career but who have chosen not to pursue a degree. The program is expected to attract hundreds of new, young and talented people to the industry – the talent that the employers previously could have missed out on.

Fiona McBride, CEO of Pearson in Practice, said: “We welcome the Government’s continued emphasis on higher level Apprenticeships as a true and credible alternative to university education and are pleased to be able to bring this into the legal services sector.  It reveals what we believe is a shift  in public opinion about the value of vocational learning and demonstrates a widespread understanding of the important role that Apprenticeships play in setting young people on the path towards not just a job, but a sustainable and fulfilling career.”

Diane Burleigh, Chief Executive of CILEx, said: “We’re delighted to receive approval for this project. It will extend our ability to support law firms to invest in their future and current employees by capitalizing on the skills and qualifications they already have. It will offer paralegals greater opportunities for career development. It will support the quality assurance of legal services.  We very much look forward to working on this exciting new opportunity for vocational learning in law with our partners.”

Jonathan Bourne, Managing Director of Damar Training, commented: “The qualification will be designed to meet the needs of the growing paralegal workforce and allows firms to fully integrate apprenticeships into their paralegal career structures. It will create exciting opportunities for many bright, ambitious people who will then go on to generate real value for their employers and clients.”

Alan Woods OBE, Chief Executive, Skills for Justice, said:“We are delighted to be working in partnership with CILEx, Pearson In Practice and Damar Training to create 750 higher apprenticeships in the Legal Service sector. We feel this project will be a game changer in terms of how firms recruit and retain talent to deliver high quality legal services and remain competitive in these difficult economic times. The opportunities this will deliver for young people wanting to enter the sector straight from school is unprecedented.”

The new level 4 Higher Apprenticeship will help firms recruit and develop, the knowledge and skills of their paralegals who have either already completed levels 2 and 3 or are non-law graduates. Specialist technical pathways will be created, including personal injury, commercial litigation and debt recovery.