Work-based Learning is the final component of training for barristers in England and Wales. It is commonly referred to as ‘pupillage’. These terms may be used interchangeably.
This is the term that we use for all organisations that are authorised by us to deliver Bar training, including the work-based learning component. It is short for Authorised Education and Training Organisation. All organisations that provide work-based learning must apply to become authorised as an AETO.
Why should we offer pupillage?
Are we already authorised to take pupils?
Please contact us to have an informal discussion about your current status.
Types of organisations that can be authorised as an AETO
Yes, provided that your business model supports work-based learning with adequate resources and policies.
As an experienced training provider, you are likely to have policies and procedures in place that may be adapted for the purpose of providing pupillage. There may be some opportunities to combine training for trainee solicitors and pupils from which they can both benefit.
No. It is not compulsory to be regulated by an Approved Regulator to apply to become authorised as a work-based learning provider. We do not place any restrictions on who may apply to become an AETO. If you are unsure about whether you will be able to meet our requirements, please contact us.
Yes. It may also be the case that chambers providing pupillage will operate in one area of law either predominantly or entirely.
If you are planning on training pupils across multiple locations, you may submit one application form but would need to provide details of all locations to be authorised as pupillage providers.
The process to become authorised as an AETO
The authorisation process is designed to ensure that all organisations that are authorised to deliver work-based learning meet our minimum standards and the principles of flexibility, accessibility and affordability. If there is any aspect of the application process that you are finding difficult, you can contact us by email ([email protected]).
Not necessarily. You are likely to be able to adapt existing policies and process documents that you have within the organisation for other purposes, eg for the training of solicitors or management/support of employees.
Our published guidance document has tool tips and links to other relevant guidance to support you when preparing your application. We do not publish sample/template policies or other pupillage assessment documents.
It is for the AETO to determine who is suitable to be a pupil supervisor. The eligibility criteria and training requirements for pupil supervisors are set out at Part 4B of the Bar Qualification Manual.
No. The AETO can organise its own training for pupil supervisors, but the training must meet the criteria set out in Part 4B of the Bar Qualification Manual.
To ensure equality of opportunity for all prospective pupils and to meet the Principle of Accessibility indicators within the Authorisation Framework. Compliance with the principals of Fair Recruitment is key to the authorisation process.
You must meet our requirements for the advertising and recruitment of pupillages in Part 4C of the Bar Qualification Manual. Any exception may require a waiver from our advertising rules. Please contact us if you wish to discuss your specific situation with us.
There is no fee to advertise on the Pupillage Gateway. If you wish to use the Gateway platform for the administration of your recruitment process, this is subject to a fee. The Gateway is administered by the Bar Council. Further information and contact details are available on the Pupillage Gateway website.
Yes, you will need to comply with the mandatory timetable for advertising and recruitment of pupillage (see Part 4C of the Bar Qualification Manual) unless you obtain a waiver of those requirements from us. The application form and guidelines for the waiver are available to download from our website.
Not necessarily. All pupils must have a written agreement in accordance with the guidance at Part 4D of the Bar Qualification Manual. The written agreement should not affect the employed status of the pupil, or the obligations of either the AETO or the pupil in relation to employment and related law. If the employment contract already covers the minimum terms specified by us, a separate pupillage agreement is not needed.
No; however, pupillages must be funded in accordance with Part 4E of the Bar Qualification Manual (updated in January, each year).
AETOs are not obligated to provide ‘draw down’ funding to pupils although some choose to offer this as a means of meeting the Accessibility Principle of the Authorisation Framework. Any arrangements for drawing down funding should be clearly set out in your Pupillage Policy and your Written Agreement for pupils.
The Professional Statement competences
It is your responsibility to design a training programme which enables pupils to demonstrate all of the relevant competences of the Professional Statement. If it is not possible to do so within your organisation, you may need to consider establishing secondments with other organisations/pupillage providers and this would need to be considered as part of your authorisation application. Secondments are covered in Part 4J of the Bar Qualification Manual.
We do not make any distinction about the mode of practice a barrister will be entering into upon full qualification. The Professional Statement is a universal set of competences that must be demonstrated in order for a full practising certificate to be issued.
Yes, but any checklists used should sit alongside and augment the use of the Professional Statement, not replace it.
Where can I get help?
Our content on the Bar Standards Board website contains important and helpful information and we encourage you to read it, including the Bar Qualification Manual, the Authorisation Framework, the guidance document for prospective applicants, and the Professional Statement. We encourage informal discussions with prospective pupillage providers. If this is something you are interested in, please contact us.
Our content on the Bar Standards Board website, as above. You can also contact us by email.
Thinking of withdrawing from offering pupillages?
We would recommend that you contact the Authorisations Team for an informal discussion before making a decision to withdraw from providing pupillage training.
We have approved an apprenticeship route to Bar training in principle, but it is not yet available in practice. We are currently working with a number of organisations who are interested in delivering barrister apprenticeships. Please get in touch with us if you are interested, by emailing [email protected]
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