JLD committee member James Kitching’s feedback come at first of Nationwide Apprenticeship Week

A member of the Junior Legal professionals Division govt committee has accused massive regulation companies of “misusing” the federal government apprenticeship levy to fund solicitor coaching programmes for graduates.

James Kitching stated companies are “restating” the coaching contract quite than growing “revolutionary new fashions” allowed below the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) regime.

In a column in at the moment’s The Law Society Gazette, Kitching, an affiliate at Womble Bond Dickinson who additionally represents junior attorneys as a council member of The Legislation Society, alleges companies are placing candidates by SQE prep programs that replicate the Authorized Apply Course, after which on to 2 years of qualifying work expertise on the agency. “Such candidates are being handled as apprentices with a purpose to benefit from the apprenticeship levy to fund the coaching,” he stated.

Kitching continued:

“Setting apart my disappointment that these companies usually are not taking the possibility to maneuver in direction of a extra revolutionary mannequin, a better concern is that this method is a misuse of the apprenticeship levy with respect to its authentic function.”

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He goes on to elucidate what “a ‘correct’ apprenticeship” entails. This “takes six years to finish and consists of 4 years learning in direction of a regulation diploma whereas being employed by a agency on a full-time foundation… For the ultimate two years the apprentices be part of the graduate rotation and newly certified solicitor course of”. This route “permits entry to the career for individuals who can not or don’t need to go to school full-time” and offers them “an opportunity to work, examine, and attain a stage of expertise that, on the level of qualifying, is arguably fuller than the standard trainees”. It’s what the federal government meant when introducing the levy, he claims within the article, which was printed at first of Nationwide Apprenticeship Week 2021.

The apprenticeship levy was launched in 2017 and is payable by all companies with an annual pay invoice of greater than £three million (0.5% of their complete pay invoice). Nonetheless, companies can recoup this money offering they spend it on apprenticeship-level coaching.

The SQE is because of come into power on 1 September 2021, with the first SQE1 sit scheduled for eight and 11 November, with SQE2 in April 2022.