Many companies and industries are still suffering from the economic situation despite figures showing the economy is growing, and legal firms are no exception to this. Whilst some companies have had to make redundancies or put a freeze on recruitment, they may be missing out on future legal talent that should be nurtured.
Government funding for apprenticeships and vocational training has not been cut, in fact an extra 50% in funding for adult apprenticeships has been secured and the Train2Gain fund has now been removed, Government funding for apprentices means that legal firms can take advantage of funded training for those aged 16-25 – as long as the employee is paid £95 per week does not hold a degree and works for more than 16 hours per week.
However, we are all aware that many professional firms are still apprehensive about employing apprentices as the loss of time to training coupled with a less than favourable drop-out rate means that many companies will prefer to employ those who are already trained as Legal Executives or higher.
Helen Greaves of Lawtrain, a work-based vocational training provider specialising in apprenticeships and ILEX courses, states “whilst many firms are not recruiting at the present, apprentices are a source of talent for the future. They are young people with a genuine wish to work in the sector and once recruited they can be trained up to provide effective succession and HR planning for the future. Apprentices can be trained not only in the skills relevant to the profession, but also to those that are specific to a particular firm and therefore providing a seamless transition of job roles as staff need to be replaced and as the economy recovers and work flow increases, they provide a key resource to enable firms to hold the flexibility to face the challenges of the future. Apprentices can undertake ILEX Legal Secretarial, Legal Studies Awards or ILEX Professional Training, allowing learners to gain vocational qualifications specific to the sector, whilst firms acquire fully trained and qualified staff to support their fees earners and to evidence full training support for quality awards such as LEXCEL.”
Professional firms, however, are reticent to take on trainees or apprentices as they foresee releasing someone from the work place to attend College as being logistically difficult. Helen also explains why vocational training could prove to be the way forward. “Business demands alter and sometimes these cannot be predicted; training onsite, or blended learning, allows an amount of flexibility which Colleges find it difficult to facilitate. Student retention levels also tend to be significantly higher if the learning is tailored to meet the needs of each individual learner and their employer, rather than learners being taught at a standard pace within a group.”
Vocational legal training requires very little investment from the employer and has now developed from a College offering to embrace business environments.
For more information or advice please contact Helen at www.lawtrain.org.uk or call 0121 353 7780