ITV has become the first company to offer a solicitor apprenticeship under the new Trailblazers Apprenticeship in Law initiative.
The team will take on one apprentice, who will start in September 2016 and qualify as a solicitor with the company in August 2022. The qualification, which is supported by City University London and CILEx Law School will see the student employed by ITV for six years, working four days a week and spending the fifth day studying.
ITV hopes to recruit the apprentice from the Legal Social Mobility Partnership (LSMP) which the company launched in 2014 in association with PRIME. The LSMP offers students aged between 16 and 18 the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the world of City law firms and their clients. Participating firms include Slaughter and May, Olswang, Arnold & Porter and Bird & Bird, and companies include Viacom, Yahoo! and Microsoft. Originally launched with 20 students, the figure grew to 106 this year. ITV director of legal affairs and third party sales Barry Matthews is hoping to have over 200 students by 2016 as the LSMP expands nationally to cover other locations including Birmingham and Leeds.
The Trailblazers Apprenticeship in Law initiative will come into play by September 2016. The employer-led scheme, supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education, will create new apprenticeships leading to qualification as a solicitor, chartered legal executive and paralegal.
Speaking to Legal Business, Matthews said the in-house team at ITV would be encouraging other businesses to also offer apprenticeships. He also said that there is every potential for the company to open the scheme to more apprentices in the future.
‘With the Trailblazer apprenticeship, because it is something novel, I am presuming a lot of the firms are waiting to see what it looks like. We obviously have gone out of our way to investigate and understand it because we want to ensure the quality of the training is akin to that one would get through going through the graduate route.
‘This is not about lowering standards – this is about providing alternative means to entry. For in-house teams it makes the most sense because for us, to be an effective lawyer, you have got to understand the business and what better place to be than in the business while you learn the practice of law. Trailblazers really does lend itself to the in-house community but equally as a founder of the LSMP we are looking to encourage other suppliers too.’
Andrew Garard, general counsel at ITV, said: ‘We are delighted to be the first in-house legal department to embrace the new Solicitor Apprenticeship scheme. We see the new apprenticeship route as a great opportunity to create solicitors who know ITV’s business inside out at the point of qualification. This can only enhance our quest to make our lawyers true business partners.’
Currently, 20 law firms have been in consultation over Trailblazers including Addleshaw Goddard, Clyde & Co, Dentons, Eversheds, Mayer Brown, Olswang and Simmons & Simmons, as well as Barclays and The Royal Bank of Scotland.