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05 August 2021

Student Focus: Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) | Part 2

Published on 05 August 2021

Part 2: How do you record your QWE? 

Part 1 set out the aim of QWE and how your experience in the workplace must expose you to tasks/activities that develop your skills in Competences A-D at Threshold Standard 3. The key message is that what you do in your time at a workplace is important if you wish that to form part of your QWE. Here in Part 2, we explain the importance of keeping a QWE record. 

When you have completed SQE1, QWE and SQE2, and provided there is no issue as to your character and suitability, you will be ready to apply for entry to the Roll of Solicitors. 

The regulatory provisions require you to register completed QWE. The key word here is completed –  if you do all of your QWE in one organisation, you’ll register the whole of your QWE once you've completed it; however,  as you can do QWE in up to 4 organisations, you can register QWE as you complete your time in each period (remember the duration of each does not need to be equal in length).

 

You register completed QWE in a prescribed form, completed by you, and confirmed by a solicitor working for the organisation where obtained the experience. The solicitor is confirming that:


  • your work experience was for the duration stated

  • you have had the opportunity to develop some or all or the competencies need to become a solicitor - they'll do this by looking at your QWE record

  • there were no character and suitability issues during your QWE that could raise questions about you being admitted as a solicitor.

There is SRA guidance for solicitors confirming QWE. Remember that a solicitor signing your confirmation is regulated by the SRA and so will take their duties seriously.

So, how do you keep a QWE record?

The organisation where you do your qualifying work experience may have systems or processes in place, to help you record your QWE experience. You should ask for details. However, if there are no such processes, you'll need to keep your own QWE record. This can be a bit daunting but fortunately there are templates available to help. Check out the SRA training template SRA | Training template | Solicitors Regulation Authority, or if you prefer a digital format, the template provided by Flex Legal.

 

Both are designed to help you:

 

  • reflect on your work and experience

  • identify how this experience has helped you develop some or all of the competences required to be a solicitor and pass SQE2

  • recognise if there are any gaps that you need to address.

The regulatory framework does not require that you submit your QWE record when you register QWE or even when you apply for admission as a solicitor. The obvious question then is why bother to keep a record? Well, firstly because the solicitor signing off your QWE will want to see your record but secondly, because your record will provide you with a rich vein of evidence of your employability skills when you are seeking a newly qualified position on the job market. In other words, view your QWE record as setting up the foundations of your career as a solicitor. It’s well worth investing your time in your QWE record; it follows that it’s well worth researching what experience will be offered to you in any position you want to use as evidence of QWE.

 

This article is Part 2 of a three-part series on QWE. You can access Part 1 on our website and Part 3 over the coming weeks.

Written by Kathryn Newton, Programme Leader, The College of Legal Practice.

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