This article was first published in Today’s Conveyancer, which can be read online here.
Property transactions have almost doubled in the last decade, but with fewer active conveyancing firms to do the increased work, the sector is experiencing a “conveyancing crunch”. However, all is not lost and with attitudes to online learning rapidly changing, virtual courses to retrain and level up the new and existing workforce might just be what the sector is calling out for.
Online learning removes barriers to qualifying
With the onset of the pandemic giving many individuals more time, disposable income and opportunity to undertake online qualifications, Law Training Centre has seen the number of learners on our licensed conveyancer courses almost double since 2019 and this trend shows no sign of slowing.
Traditional routes to qualification present huge barriers to entry for many aspiring conveyancers, and the inflexible demands studying can place on their time, as well as the associated cost, can be a deterrent to joining the profession. Online learning can address both of these concerns – truly flexible online learning with remote assessments, on-demand and flexible tutor support make study possible at a pace and schedule that works for the learner.
There are also benefits for employers. In an intense and time-consuming profession, there are not always enough hours in the day to study for new qualifications without taking time off, or even leaving work entirely, not to mention where learners may have a family or caring responsibilities. But because online learning can be undertaken wherever and whenever is convenient, without specific start dates throughout the year, employees can join courses at any point and study at a rate to suit both them and you, without making huge sacrifices at work or in their personal lives.
Online learning brings financial savings too, making it more affordable for firms to sponsor their employees, as well as helping those who are self-funding avoid adding to an already large student loan debt. Firms’ training budgets can go a lot further, and lower costs and increased flexibility opens the door to the conveyancing profession for groups who may not have previously had access, widening the talent pool available to employers.
Close the gap between demand and supply
Historically, around half of our learners were sponsored by a law firm until 2020. Since 2021, however, the scales have tipped and 65% of our conveyancing learners are now sponsored by their firm. Interestingly, while the number of learners is growing generally, firm sponsored learners now exceeds self-sponsored, showing the growing demand for conveyancers. To meet this demand, more firms must consider alternate routes into the profession.
Attracting and retaining conveyancing talent
Without opportunities for progression, employees can lose motivation and may seek new challenges. It’s crucial that employers show enthusiasm for developing existing talent within their practice. An affinity with online, lifelong learning is an opportunity to signpost that a firm values employee development, and gives firms access to a broader pool of talent who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to realise their full potential.
Engaging, reflective and rigorous
The development and delivery of conveyancing training through online learning possesses two necessary ingredients for success – engaging and reflective learning.
Any assumption that ‘traditional’ training is better, is a dangerous assumption. Exceptional levels of learner tutoring and coaching in current practice knowledge can exceed traditional teaching environments where opportunities for one-to-one teaching and learning can be extremely limited. Individually tailored training using applied flexible teaching and learning methods delivers the necessary learner-centred understanding, attainment, and qualification.
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