13 January 2022
A new Legal Services T Level will drive up standards and help open out the profession to a more diverse variety of young people than ever before.
T Levels are classroom-based two-year courses, for 16- to 19-year-olds, that follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A Levels. They crucially involve extensive ‘on-the-job’ training through an industry placement lasting around 45 days.
Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute), is delighted that the way has been cleared for these ground-breaking new qualifications to train the next generation for legal services.
She said: “This exciting new T Level will help open out the profession to people who may want to follow a more direct training route into work. It will also be an important stepping stone to degree apprenticeships and more conventional degrees. I can’t wait to see it rolled out in classrooms.”
T Levels are built from the same employer-defined occupational standards that guide apprenticeships. These identify the core knowledge, skills, and behaviours that leading sector figures have agreed must be learned for students to prove they are work ready.
Awarding organisations use the employer guidance as their basis to further develop and deliver T Levels for schools and colleges across England.
Pearson has now signed the contract to deliver the Legal Services T Level from 2023, following a competitive bidding process overseen by the Institute. It supported the first wave of T Levels that went live from 2020, launching courses in design, surveying and planning for construction, and digital production, design, and development. Pearson will deliver further T Levels, from September this year, for the finance and accounting sectors.
Suzanne Hall, head of technical products at Pearson, said:
"We are delighted to be delivering the Legal Services T Level Technical Qualification from September 2023. We look forward to using our expertise in developing world class qualifications to put together the course content and assessments, support students as they begin their programmes of study, and playing our part in developing talent in this vital industry."
The new qualification will be developed in partnership with industry expert the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX), one of the main professional bodies covering the legal profession in England and Wales. CILEX will work with Pearson to ensure the qualification content is current, relevant and supports the professional standards for the sector.
Linda Ford, chief executive officer of CILEX, said:
“As the pioneer of the non-university route into law, it is only fitting that we partner with Pearson to deliver the new Legal Services T Level. By creating another pathway into the law for students, we will continue to drive social mobility in the profession and bring to bear our experience of providing thousands of work-ready practitioners into the legal services sector.”
Barrister Cassie Williams from Bedford Row Chambers in London, one of the employer advisers for this new qualification, said:
“This is fantastic news! Justice is served when lawyers and people working across legal services come from all walks of life. The legal services T-level will provide the opportunity for this to become a reality. I’m proud to have been part of its development.”
Notes to editors:
- T Levels are different to other classroom-based qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds because they are employer-led and involve extensive work placements. This provides an extra level of guarantee that what is being learned matches industry skills gaps and students develop the broad variety of skills needed for successful careers.
- The Legal Services T Level will be part of the fourth wave rolled out from next year. City & Guilds will also develop, deliver and award them from 2023 in animal care and management; and agriculture, land management and production. NCFE will do the same for craft and design; media, broadcast and production; and hair, beauty and aesthetics.
- With completion of the fourth wave there will be a total of 23 T levels available in schools and colleges across England.