The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has given the green light to a 10-firm consortium led by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) to develop a specialist probate apprenticeship.
The consortium includes four solicitors’ firms – Irwin Mitchell, Withy King, Michelmores and Mowbray Woodwards, based in Bath.
The six firms regulated by the CLC in the consortium range from the Kings Court Trust and Goodwills Legal Services, both probate specialists, to online service Conveyancing Expert and DC Law, which also do conveyancing. The other two firms are Stratega Law, based in London, and Goddard Dunbar & Associates, based in Cheshire.
Along with the CLC, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a member of the consortium together with CLT International, home of the STEP diploma and other wealth management courses.
A CLC spokesman said approval by BIS of its application to develop a probate apprenticeship meant work could begin on developing the outline of the scheme. The standards would then need to be approved by BIS before the apprenticeships were launched.
The CLC obtained approval from BIS  for the standards for licensed conveyancer and conveyancing technician apprenticeships in August. The spokesman said work was continuing on the details of the training schemes and the first apprentices were likely to be able to start work by the middle of next year.
Sheila Kumar, chief executive of the CLC, said the apprenticeships were “an important part of our commitment to widening access to the legal profession and ensuring there is a good supply of well-qualified individuals to meet client demand”.
The CLC does not have a launch date for the probate apprenticeship, but expects apprentices to have to work to for three to five years to complete their probate training.
Becoming a licensed conveyancer through the apprenticeship route is expected to take a similar length of time.
Last week, ILEX Professional Standards obtained the power to grant reserved probate rights  to both chartered legal executives and others with appropriate experience.