About apprenticeships

CILEx Law School works with a wide range of organisations to deliver apprenticeships. Whether impacted by the levy, looking to meet CSR objectives or interested in home-growing talent, our clients find a number of benefits to employing apprentices.

What are apprenticeships?

An apprenticeship is a programme of training alongside employment.

Though not a new concept, apprenticeships have come to the forefront again in response to government policy and initiatives such as the apprenticeship levy. The current structure includes the following key aspects:

In an effort to ensure that apprenticeships provided meet a high-quality threshold, four minimum criteria have been identified by the government as prerequisites for funding:

  • it has to be a real job, either for an existing employee or a new hire
  • it must be part of an approved apprenticeship programme
  • it will include at least 12 months of training
  • it must incorporate at least 20% off-the-job training

In addition, each programme has its own candidate specifications.

Apprenticeships are particularly appropriate for school leavers who show potential to prosper in a legal environment, but do not want to incur the cost of full-time education. Apprenticeships can also be used for existing staff, provided they don’t already have a comparable qualification and require significant new learning.

The funding rules, referred to as the apprenticeship levy, as currently as follows:

  • Employers with pay bills over £3 million: since 6 April 2017, these organisations have been paying a new type of tax in the form of a levy payment. Unlike most other taxes, the levy is put into an account for the employer to use to fund formal apprenticeship training within the organisation
  • Employers with a pay bill of less than £3 million: the government will pay 95% (from 1 April 2019) of the cost of apprenticeship training, so you can extend your training budget through public funding.

In addition, there are several incentives available:

  • For all organisations: employers will receive £1,000 for taking on an apprentice under 19 at the start of their apprenticeship programme
  • For SMEs with under 50 employees: these employers will pay no apprenticeship costs if the apprentice is under 19 when they start their apprenticeship

CILEx qualifications were designed to fit in with a working life and employer business needs. This has made for an easy transition to apprenticeships and, similarly, a number of progression options are built in for added flexibility.

So no matter whether you are recruiting school leavers or training existing staff with previous qualifications, we will have an option to suit your requirements.

Apprenticeship policy is devolved, meaning Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own arrangements.

The apprenticeship levy, for example, only applies to offices in England and levy funds can only be spent on employees who spend at least 50% of their working hours in England.

CILEx Law School predominantly delivers apprenticeships in England.

What are the benefits?

Whether or not you are eligible to pay the apprenticeship levy, there are many compelling reasons for including legal apprenticeships in your strategic training and development planning:

  • Develop cost-effective staff who free up paralegals’ and lawyers’ time for more technical matters
  • Improve your staff retention: apprentices will have strong loyalty due to having been given a start in the world of work
  • Identify people who prove themselves to be worthy of further training investment
  • Fulfil your firm’s corporate responsibility and social inclusion objectives
  • For public sector organisations, comply with the mandatory target of 2.3% of the workforce being apprentices

We recommend that organisations of all sizes should now employ apprentices, either as new recruits or as a development opportunity for existing members of staff.