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First ever apprentice solicitor in central government

Kristofer McGhee, the Institute’s General Counsel, who is listed as one of The Lawyer’s ‘Hot 100 of 2021’
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The first ever Apprentice Solicitor in central government is being recruited by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (@IFATEched).

The solicitor apprenticeship is a prime example of how apprenticeships are now opening out traditional white collar professions to a much broader demographic.

Employers are now prepared to employ people with A levels, rather than a conventional degree, onto these world class training programmes and support them to gain their degree alongside work.

The Institute backs this approach 100 per cent and is looking for an apprentice solicitor to join our in-house legal team.

We have taken the decision to only invite people without degrees to apply – pass grades for A levels will be more than sufficient.

Kristofer McGhee, the Institute’s General Counsel, who is listed as one of The Lawyer’s ‘Hot 100 of 2021’, said:

“I’m so excited to be recruiting what will be the first apprentice solicitor in government. We firmly believe in opening out exciting opportunities to all and made a firm decision to champion social mobility in our recruitment process. I hope that we can be pioneers for other parts of government to match our ambition.

“We are committed to expanding our diverse workforce and would welcome applications from underrepresented groups. For example, those who would be the first generation to attend university, those who received free school meals and those who were in care.

“We don’t mind where applicants went to school, whether they have the highest grades or whether they have any legal experience. We simply want someone with potential; the potential to be a great apprentice solicitor.”

Over 750 people across the country have so far received training through solicitor apprenticeships and the Institute hopes to help inspire many more employers and trainees to go down this lifechanging route.

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Our own six-year apprenticeship will involve studying for a law degree and qualifying as a solicitor while working at the heart of the public sector, helping to transform employer-led skills training for the benefit of everyone.

During the early stages of the apprenticeship, common tasks are likely to include:

  • attending meetings on high-profile reforms and taking notes
  • supporting members of the legal team with administrative tasks
  • keeping up to date with recent legal updates and sharing this with the team
  • conducting legal research.

Later on, the apprentice could:

  • draft legal documents, such as a contract change notice
  • advise on common public law issues such as what the Institute’s functions are
  • produce training materials for colleagues
  • manage a ‘case load’ including reviewing contracts, assisting with freedom of information requests, and dealing with ‘cases’ under the Institute’s internal appeal process.

The Institute’s legal team was ‘highly commended’ in the 2020 British Legal Awards in the ‘Outstanding Innovation and Collaboration’ category and has recently been shortlisted for the 2021 British Legal Awards in the ‘In-house Impact’ category.

The successful apprentice will earn a salary at the same time as training to become a solicitor, with pay starting at £19,708 nationally and £22,949 if based in London.

The apprenticeship will involve the equivalent of four days a week learning on the job with the Institute and a day of specialist off the job training with the University of Law.

Ceri Evans, national programme director for apprenticeships at The University of Law, said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Institute to establish the first Civil Service solicitor apprenticeship and grow its legal talent pipeline. The solicitor apprenticeship pathway has opened up an exciting new route to qualifying for aspiring solicitors, which will support people from all backgrounds into the profession. It presents the perfect opportunity to learn in context whilst building the crucial work skills required to be an effective lawyer in the 21st century.”

The Institute is holding a webinar on 27 October for anyone interested in the apprenticeship to learn more about the Institute’s legal team, working at the Institute, and the study element of the apprenticeship.

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