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Government introduces post-GCSE course for legal services

By Monidipa Fouzder >>

(12 June 2023)

A post-GCSE vocational course introduced by the government nearly three years ago to prepare students for skilled employment will be available for legal services this autumn, it has emerged.

The Department for Education expects T Levels, launched in 2020, to become one of the main choices for students after GCSEs alongside apprenticeships, A-levels and other qualifications not served by A or T levels.

T Levels have been designed in collaboration with employers and education providers to give students practical and knowledge-based learning. They include a minimum nine-week placement with an employer.

The DfE hopes eventually to make T Levels available in 24 subjects. A report published by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education last Friday revealed that a T level in legal services will become available from September.

According to a dedicated government web page, students doing a T level in legal services will develop an understanding of a broad range of issues relevant to the sector, including the business environment, regulation, professionalism and ethics, security and risk, third partner professional services and the fundamentals of financial accounting.

Students also have to complete at least one module of occupation-specific content. The legal services T-level consist of two ‘legal assistant occupational specialisms’: business finance and employment; and crime, criminal justice and social welfare.

While T levels are based on the same standards as apprenticeships, they differ in their approach. T levels are designed to prepare students for work, further training or further study. Apprenticeships are typically suited to those wanting to earn a wage and learn at the same time.

The institute said in its report that apprenticeships were already making a mark, referring to data published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority that shows solicitor-apprentices outperforming other candidates in the Solicitors Qualifying Examination.

Legal apprentice networks are growing, the institute added, ‘with some apprentices saying that they use social media platforms like TikTok to find and share information about apprenticeships’.

However, the institute expects apprenticeships ‘will take some time to be fully embedded in the labour market and to achieve parity with long-standing methods of qualification’.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)