Offered a training contract but can’t fund the GDL
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I’m from Ireland, where I completed my undergraduate degree, but have recently moved to London. I’m currently working as a paralegal and, happily, my firm has offered me a training contract. Unfortunately I am not eligible for the GDL loan as I have not been in the country long enough. My bank has also refused to give me a loan for the same reason. Do you have any advice on how to fund my GDL?
The Oracle replies
We asked a former law firm graduate recruiter and careers adviser for her advice. Our recruiter says: “Congratulations! That is fantastic news, you must be thrilled. I have a few avenues for you to pursue.
“First, ask your employer. It is common for firms to pay GDL and LPC fees and a number of larger firms also offer a maintenance grant to fund living costs while you complete your studies. If your employer doesn't want to gift you the funds, ask them about a potential loan, which you will pay back once you start your training contract.
“Second, look at the scholarships different GDL providers have. There may be a full fees pro bono scholarship and other scholarships per course worth several thousand pounds. If you have a training contract, but do not receive funding from your employer, you would be eligible. Other law schools offer scholarships - check them out.
“Third, several law schools offer the GDL over a two or three-day week. This would give you the opportunity to work alongside your GDL.
“Fourth, local authority grants. Your local authority will be able to provide you with details of mandatory and discretionary award policies. This will include courses which the authority considers suitable for the purposes of financial support. The GDL is categorised as a discretionary award. These awards are limited, and you should check with your local authority when to apply.
“Finally, consider completing the GDL on a part-time basis (weekends and evenings), giving you the opportunity to continue to work as a paralegal.”