Blog

How important is time spent in the workplace before qualification?

By Liz Walters, Policy Associate, 22 May 2015

We are part way through our programme of focus groups and a wide range of different stakeholders have been sharing their thoughts with us on how we should align our assessment framework for intending solicitors with the new Statement of Solicitor Competence.

At each of the meetings, there has been lively debate about the role of work place experience prior to qualification. We know that the lack of availability of training contracts (or period of recognised training) has been one of the barriers to joining the profession but we also know that experience in the workplace enables trainees to apply their learning and develop the attitudes, skills and understanding required to be effective.

Some of the questions we have been debating include:

  • If we introduce a common professional assessment, is there still a need to require a period of work place experience?
  • If there is, should we specify the minimum amount of time that trainees should spend in the workplace?
  • Should we require trainees to be assessed in the workplace against all or some of the skill areas from the competence statement whether or not we introduce a common professional assessment?
  • Could the period of workplace experience take place in more than one organisation? Does it have to take place in a regulated entity?
  • Would the period of workplace experience have to be under the supervision of a solicitor?
  • What is the role of the SRA in regulating any period of work place experience?

We would like to hear what you think on the above issues or any other thoughts you may have about how we align our assessment framework for intending solicitors with the new Statement of Solicitor Competence.