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Getting in and on
Do you enjoy working with people? Do you want to help create a safe and fair society? Do you want to do something worthwhile? Are you looking for a career that's a bit different, where you will face new and challenging situations daily?
Good communication skills, planning skills, professionalism and organisational skills are essential.
Many careers in this sector will require you to have a level 3 or degree level qualification. Students with a range of degree subjects often move into law through additional study, e.g from history, etc.
There are job opportunities available for people who wish to start their careers at an assistant level and the most popular route is gaining employment after your level 3 qualification. The sector invests heavily in supporting people to gain additional qualifications – so you might be able to work and study at a higher level.
Work experience is also valued in this particular work area and many higher level courses offer the opportunity to gain work experience. Work experience, either voluntary or paid, will help you stand out when applying for these jobs, and the more experience you have, the better.
Routes into this job sector
There are a various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs (you will need to get good grades in English and maths) . Your school might also offer vocational qualifications such as BTEC’s, OCR Nationals, etc.
- At 16 you have more options – A Levels, apprenticeships , vocational qualifications , and traineeships have also started in some areas.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to go to university, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career - through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications
To qualify as a solicitor the traditional route is to take Law degree followed by further full or part-time training and job based training over a number of years.
Whilst most people take a law degree as the first step to becoming a solicitor and you can work follow a non-graduate route as a Legal Executive and work towards qualifying as a solicitor. Being a legal executive is a career in its own right and whilst the process is demanding it allows you to earn while you learn, visit the Institute of Legal Executives for more information on this pathway.
On the job training is nothing new in in the legal services sector but Higher Apprenticeships now exist and provides another options
Working in other law enforcement jobs such as a police officer means you have to be over 18 and have to pass certain assessments (written and physical). It can be a good idea to take a Public Service course at college or take relevant A Levels including Law.
A career in politics does not necessarily mean becoming an MP and there are opportunities related to politics, which do not require a politics degree but you will need is an interest in politics some involvement in local or student politics. However most require qualifications at degree level, such as a political researcher or Public Affairs Consultant (Lobbyist).
To find out more about the qualifications needed in this sector visit the Sector Skills Council’s website at Skills for Justice