Specialist apprenticeships on the way

Nigel Race, Director Professional Development, STEPThe Private Client industry continues to grow as a legal area and demand for private client legal services will only increase as the UK’s demographics change. It is good news, then, that a new apprenticeship in probate has been approved. The apprenticeships will open the door to a younger and more diverse labour pool than exists at present.

And aside from helping to meet the demand for estate administration, the apprenticeship will ensure a well-qualified group, grounded in practical experience and mentored and supervised by specialists in their firms, will increasingly be handling this sensitive area of work and at a level of complexity to suit their competence. STEP has advocated the regulation of will writing and estate administration for many years but, in the absence of regulation, believe this supervised and controlled development of an appropriately skilled work-force is key.

Developed by a group of employers focused on estate administration, with the support of STEP, CLTI and CLC, the new Probate Technician programme offers an exciting career opportunity for those wishing to work in probate but who do not have a prior legal qualification.

The Probate Technician Standard apprenticeship was developed by a consortium of specialist practitioners led by Andrea Pierce of Kings Court Trust together with input at the designated meetings from Michelmores LLP, Irwin Mitchell LLP, Stratega Law, Withy King LLP, Goodwills, and with the support of STEP as the relevant professional body in the private client sphere. Many other forms supported the project through survey responses.

Those qualifying as a Probate Technician will have proof of achievement of expertise in a specialist area of law – making them more attractive to prospective employers, and helping them get that crucial first step on the career ladder. They will also be able to apply for STEP affiliation.

The apprenticeship is part of the UK government’s Trailblazer scheme and is due to come in for the academic year 2017-18. Employers will be able to apply for assistance with their cost for training apprentices.

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Nigel Race, Director, Professional Development, STEP

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