updated on 21 May 2020
Leading education and assessment provider Kaplan has been approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to be the End Point Assessment organisation for solicitor apprenticeships. A rigorous application process took place to review Kaplan’s experience, expertise and capacity to perform the role prior to its approval.
Apprentices will be required to pass the Solicitors Qualifying Exam’s (SQE) two stages. SQE1 tests the application of functioning legal knowledge and will be completed during apprenticeship training as an on-programme assessment. Once an apprentice passes SQE1, they can then sit SQE2, which is the end-point assessment for apprentices.
Peter Houillon, CEO of Kaplan Professional UK and Ireland said: “We are delighted to have been approved as the End Point Assessment organisation for the solicitor apprenticeship. With over a decade of providing the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme assessment, we look forward to continuing to apply our experience and expertise to implement an SQE that will reach the very high standards expected of a national qualifying exam.”
With the SQE set to be introduced in September 2021, subject to approval from the Legal Services Board, it aims to ensure that all successful candidates meet the same, consistent high standards at admission. Kaplan and the Solicitors Regulator Authority (SRA) have been working with stakeholders that are directly involved in the training and employment of solicitor apprentices, including employees, training providers and the legal trailblazer group, to receive input on the SQE’s design and implementation.
The SRA’s director of education and training Julie Brannan said: “Apprenticeships will attract new talent to firms. The SQE will demonstrate the quality of the apprenticeship route to admission as all qualifying solicitors will have to meet the same high standard. Consistency is key, so it makes sense to have Kaplan – world experts in this field – overseeing assessment for all.”
The SRA recently published a survey to glean information from law firms and in-house teams on their experience of apprenticeships, including the opportunities for firms, since the start of the scheme in 2016. There are now more than 500 solicitor apprentices registered.
Chair of the Trailblazer Legal Committee and head of AG Integrate at Addleshaw Goddard Gun Judge said: “On behalf of the Trailblazer group we are delighted at this positive step forward with Kaplan being appointed as the end point assessor. The solicitor apprentice standard remains a crucial alternative to university for hundreds of students and allows them to achieve the same qualification in a highly competitive sector.”