What is the Trailblazers Apprenticeship in Law?

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Department of Education, and a number of UK law firms and in-house teams, have spearheaded a new initiative that will shape the apprenticeship route into law. The Trailblazers Apprenticeship in Law initiative is an employer-led group designing new apprenticeship standards for occupations in the legal sector. These new apprenticeship standards, complete with high-level assessment approaches, will become, once agreed, the apprenticeship standard for the legal sector. 

Apprentices will undertake a combination of classroom and work-based learning.  

What is the aim?

The purpose of the initiative is to facilitate an alternative to the traditional route into the legal profession, and therefore opening the doors to a more diverse talent stream, with enhanced social mobility, entering the profession. The development and delivery of these high-quality apprenticeships will give many more people the opportunity to build successful careers, and will help businesses to be able to invest in a broader group of people with the skills that they need to grow.

Where does the funding come from?

A simple funding approach for the Trailblazer Apprenticeships is being trialed in 2014/15. 

  • For every £1 that an employer invests in training an apprentice, the Government will pay £2, up to a clear cap.
  • Extra funding will be provided by the Government to support small businesses (fewer than 50 staff) for apprentices aged 16-18, and for successful completion.
  • English and maths courses (Levels 1 & 2) will also be fully funded by the Government.

Payment will be made to the employers involved in the scheme through the Skills Funding Agency.

The apprenticeship standards 

Separate standards have been developed for each of three occupations: the Apprenticeship will provide a route to qualification as a Chartered Legal Executive. The standards for the Chartered Legal Executive apprenticeship will be set by CILEx Regulation.

CILEx Regulation will need to approve the Chartered Legal Executive Trailblazer Apprenticeship before it is accredited for use. 

What will happen next?

In August 2014, the Government approved the three proposed Trailblazer standards in law. The Trailblazers Apprenticeship in Law initiative is now consulting on the second phase of development. A curriculum and assessment process that complies with existing CILEx Regulation requirements for all Chartered Legal Executives. The new Apprenticeship standards are being finalised and will be made public by the BIS later in 2015. 

The BIS aims to have the scheme fully operational by September 2016.

N.B. The existing Apprenticeships in Legal Services, accredited by CILEx, will continue in their current form alongside the new legal Trailblazer schemes until all apprenticeships transition to Trailblazer formats in 2017.