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Sunderland College and the University of Law announce legal services apprenticeships

Sunderland College and the UK’s leading law school, the University of Law (ULaw), have announced an innovative partnership to provide apprenticeships, which will open up a vocational pathway for students who aspire to have a career in the legal services industry.

The ULaw Legal Services Apprenticeship programme will combine the experience of further education (FE) colleges in delivering high quality apprenticeships with ULaw’s expertise in legal teaching, employer engagement and practice.

Working together it will allow access to the student experience and facilities of the country’s longest established specialist provider of legal education as well as providing a clear pathway for an apprentice to enter ULaw as a student to study for a qualifying law degree.

The scheme responds to the increasing demand for highly skilled paralegals and legal services technicians, and marks the first steps into vocational training by the university.  ULaw hopes some students will go on to take part in its new Articled Apprenticeship programme, which is a six year route to becoming a solicitor, working and studying part time.

Gordon Birtwistle MP, Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business, said:  “Apprenticeships are the way forward. They provide on-the-job training and offer a wage with a career at the end of it. There are a lot of young people under pressure to go to university and study and this is providing life changing opportunities for young people who might have not been able to financially support themselves through a law course.

“I myself trained as an apprentice engineer and I am the Government’s Apprenticeship Ambassador and I feel very proud of this new partnership. Apprentices are our nation’s best secret. As the workforce of the future, the legal profession will only be enriched by their contribution.”

The Legal Services Apprenticeships will be offered at Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 from 2015.  There will be three levels of apprenticeships delivered at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher levels, which are either awarded by City & Guilds, or the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) – giving students a clear sense of progression while providing them with the opportunity to specialise.

Iain Nixon, Executive Director of Commercial Activity at Sunderland College, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with the University of Law on this important initiative which will provide a new career pathway for people who wish to work in the legal profession.

“The extension of the Apprenticeship Programme, through the Government’s Trailblazer scheme, is vital in enabling individuals to gain significant training and practical experience while working in their chosen sector, and we are looking forward to providing our expertise in this area.”

John Latham, CEO and President, University of Law said:  “We are delighted to be combining our legal education expertise with the vocational and apprenticeship excellence of some of the UK’s top FE colleges. Our combined expertise will allow apprentices across the country to gain high quality qualifications while building relationships with future employers and adapting to the world of work. We are very excited to start teaching the first cohort in 2015.”

Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, Executive Director, 157 Group of FE Colleges said: “This partnership between the largest and most innovative FE colleges in the UK and the University of Law, the country’s longest established specialist provider of legal education, will give students and apprentices the opportunity to kick-start their legal careers.

“The colleges involved are the acknowledged experts in the delivery of high-quality apprenticeships; the University of Law has the reputation, legal expertise and relationships with legal employers. For both students and apprentices, it is a win win.”


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