BPP plans apprentice scheme to bypass university in path to legal career

The Government is set to roll out a legal apprenticeship scheme in conjunction with BPP Law School from next year, enabling budding lawyers to qualify as solicitors without going to university.

Skills minister Matthew Hancock, writing in The Telegraph last Thursday (27 December), outlined plans for the schemes in professions such as law and accountancy under which apprenticeships at bachelors and masters levels will be officially recognised for the first time.

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

Hancock wrote: “This year marks the 650th anniversary of the first recorded apprentices, which were described as an unruly bunch by Chaucer. But until recently, apprenticeships were associated with an old model of heavy manufacturing that was in decline. They were seen simply as a route into a narrow range of jobs.

“Yet recently the number of apprenticeships has boomed, with more than a million begun since the election. This is essential in tackling the skills shortage we currently have across a range of sectors, including plumbing and engineering. It will enable more people to progress in work.

“I’m especially excited about a new law apprenticeship which BPP Law School is seeking to develop as an alternative to the traditional means of qualifying as a solicitor. It is in discussion with the relevant regulatory body and sector skills council, Skills for Justice, to advance its proposals.”

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 (28 November 2012).