Training contract

A training contract is the final stage of training for certain professions such as solicitors and accountants and so it is a necessity that anyone wanting to become either a solicitor or accountant acquires one. They are very useful and you will learn lots of new skills throughout one which will help you in your career.

Training Contract

What is a Training Contract?

"Training contracts" are a written agreement (contract) between an employer and a trainee (an employee "in training", e.g. a trainee solicitor or trainee accountant). A training contract is separate from, and in addition to, an employee's employment contract. A training contract is often a key feature of a graduate job, graduate scheme or any other position which offers

Training contracts are most commonly used when a trainee employee will be receiving external training from a third party organisation, paid for by their employer.

Training Contracts' Terms and Conditions

A training contract will usually stipulate the terms and conditions by which an employer will provide training to an employee and state the conditions which a candidate must meet, to ensure they continue to qualify for such training.

The typical terms and conditions of a training contract are:

  • The firm will provide training to a trainee employee, including all college, exam and institute subscription fees.
  • A trainee employee must study in their own time, not during company working hours.
  • If a trainee employee fails an exam more than once, or receives a "bad fail" (usually 45% or below for a paper with a pass mark of 55%), their training contract (and employment contract) will be terminated.

Graduate Training Contracts

Graduate training contracts are most commonly part of graduate jobs and graduate schemes at law firms and accountancy firms.

Training Contract: Accountancy

Training contracts are mandatory for all ACA or ACCA qualifications with the Big 4 and most other accountancy & professional services firms. Training contracts for accountancy jobs typically last for three years.

For further information on accountancy training contracts see:

  • ACA Training Contract

Training Contract: Law

Training contracts are necessary for all graduate solicitor roles at law firms. Legal training contracts typically last for two years and consist of a a variety of seats, secondments and third part training (such as the mandatory Professional Skills Course (PSC)).

Although the vocational legal training contract usually lasts for two years, many firms offer students training contracts two to three years in advance of employment, providing financial assistance to students as part of the training contract, throughout formal education (e.g. the GDL (Graduate diploma in law) and LPC (Legal Practice Course)).

When do I apply?

Depending on the type of firm you want to work for, training contract applications will be open all year as different firms will have different deadlines. For some high street firms positions will not be advertised and so you will have to enquire personally asking whether they would allow you to train at their firm. In comparison larger magic circle firms will heavily advertise their training contracts available during the autumn period.

When applying for training contracts, make sure to include any relevant legal experience that you have undertaken as employers will be extremely interested in it. Many firms strongly prefer their candidates to have completed some sort of work experience such as a vacation scheme before applying and so it is vital that you try and get one. Vacation schemes will be available to you in your second year of your undergraduate degree and you will apply for training contracts in your third year.

For further information on getting a training contract or to ask questions about specific "training contracts" visit the WikiJob forum.