site map | 20 September 2018

“CILEx Law School staff are efficient, friendly and sympathetic.”

CILEx Law School Student Survey


The Trailblazer Paralegal Apprenticeship

All apprenticeships which attract public funding are approved by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. The Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services, which has been available since September 2013, is the current scheme. 

A new Trailblazer scheme is being funded for apprenticeships which start from September 2016. 

What is a Trailblazer apprenticeship?

In the future, all apprenticeships will need to comply with standards developed under the government's Trailblazer initiative in order to attract public funding. The definition of an apprenticeship under this initiative is:

An Apprenticeship is a job that requires substantial and sustained training, leading to the achievement of an Apprenticeship standard and the development of transferable skills.

This definition is underpinned by four principles:
1. An Apprenticeship is a job, in a skilled occupation
2. An Apprenticeship requires substantial and sustained training, lasting a minimum of 12 months and including off-the-job training.
3. An Apprenticeship leads to full competency in an occupation, demonstrated by the achievement of an Apprenticeship standard that is defined by employers.
4. An Apprenticeship develops transferable skills, including English and maths, to progress careers. 

The Apprenticeship Standard for each occupation is developed by a group of employers working together to design standards for occupations within their sectors. Professional bodies and training providers are also involved. CILEx and CILEx Law School have both contributed to the development of the new Trailblazer Paralegal standard.

What is the content of the Trailblazer paralegal apprenticeship?

The new paralegal apprenticeship standard is available  on the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills website. The content of the apprenticeship does not differ greatly between the new and old schemes. 

For the knowledge element, all apprentices will study, and sit CILEx assessments in, the following CILEx Level 3 units:  

  • Unit 1 Introduction to Law and Practice
  • Unit 16 Client Care Skills
  • Unit 17 Legal Research Skills

Additionally they will acquire knowledge of law and practice appropriate to their job roles, on which they will be assessed at the end of their apprenticeship.

For the competence element, apprentices will follow the units specified in the CILEx Diploma in Legal Services.


How will the knowledge and skills be delivered and assessed?

One of the key differences is that the current scheme assesses performance throughout the period of the apprenticeship, whereas the new scheme requires assessment at the end of the apprenticeship to ensure that the standards have been met.

Currently, knowledge and skills are tested separately, with achievements being gained throughout the duration of the scheme. For example, knowledge is tested by sitting relevant CILEx Level 3 exams in law and practice at exam sessions in the course of the apprenticeship. Under the new scheme, learning providers will carry out a final assessment which will test all the requirements of the apprenticeship standard and lead to a graded result. There will be two parts to the assessment - the Portfolio and Scenarios.

The Portfolio: evidence gathered during the apprenticeship to demonstrate knowledge and competence gained will be compiled and signed off in the final four months of the apprenticeship.
Scenarios: The learners will sit two 1.5 hour contextualised scenario assessments under supervision. The first scenario will test the learner’s problem solving through a series of MCQs. The questions will test knowledge of the English Legal System, and the chosen area of law and practice. The second scenario will test the learner’s drafting skills. The test will include MCQs, short answer questions and drafting exercises. The scenarios will include sufficient coverage (75%) of the relevant CILEx law and practice unit specifications to obtain exemption from the corresponding CILEx units.

To prepare for the knowledge element of the end-point assessment, learners will attempt formative assessments (open book study exercises) during the course of the programme, with marking and feedback provided by our tutors. 

On the competence element, our delivery team will assess the development of competence throughout the programme, and will identify relevant evidence for inclusion in the synoptic end point portfolio. 

Should I wait for the Trailblazer paralegal apprenticeship to become available?

If your organisation is ready to take on apprentices as part of your staff development strategy, then you should not delay. CILEx Law School will continue to offer the current paralegal apprenticeships until the new schemes become available in September 2016. The contribution paid by the government to the cost of training is dependent on the apprentice's age on starting. If you have school leavers ready to start during summer 2016 it is important to get the apprenticeships underway before they reach their 19th birthday. 

What other Trailblazer apprenticeships will be available for the legal sector?

Trailblazer apprenticeship standards have also been developed for solicitor and Chartered Legal Executive apprenticeships. CILEx Law School will announce its intentions for these apprenticeships in due course. The paralegal apprenticeship affords exemptions from the first year of the Chartered Legal Executive apprenticeship, and from five Level 3 units in the Chartered Legal Executive vocational training route.

European Union Social FundGet in touch

If you would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact Jenny Pelling,
our Director of Business and Apprenticeships,
on 01234 844326 or email