With so many questions around how to get started on solicitor apprenticeships, Joanna will be tackling some common ones in a series of blogs. This blog covers the Apprenticeship Levy, The Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s position on solicitor apprenticeships, nationwide reach and social mobility.
How do we use the Apprenticeship Levy that we already pay?
There is no doubt that the payment of the Apprenticeship Levy can be an influencing factor when deciding whether to introduce a solicitor apprenticeship programme. Levy payments are automatically collected monthly by HMRC and currently paid as 0.5% on payroll of notional £3m+ per annum. It is important to remember that until any reform of the Apprenticeship Levy law firms and companies can only use the money in their ‘Levy pot’ to pay the training costs of their apprentices. The Levy cannot be used to pay the apprentices’ salaries.
Commentators in the apprenticeship space are calling for some flexibility in how the Apprenticeship Levy can be spent by employers, but nothing is agreed at the time of writing.
Many law firms will have a surplus in their Levy pot. There are many options available to ‘donate’ your Apprenticeship Levy surplus – typically an employer’s CSR team will arrange this.
All the information an employer needs is on the Government website, but a good training provider will explain to you the mechanics of how to use your Apprenticeship Levy payments to pay for the training provider’s fees.
Does the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority support solicitor apprenticeships?
Most certainly yes. The Law Society and the SRA both have resources on their websites for both employers and those interested in being solicitor apprentices. The Law Society asked Joanna to write an article about solicitor apprenticeships in September 2021: Law Society Q&A with Joanna Hughes.
If we are a London headquartered firm, should we encourage applications from across the country and not just London?
Yes. There are particular considerations to take into account though when asking an 18 year old to leave their home town to move to London. Joanna can advise on this, including accommodation considerations and options.
Can we include the introduction of a solicitor apprenticeship programme in any submission to the Social Mobility Foundation Employer Index?