With student-age children of my own, I often find myself reflecting on the hurdles facing young people seeking to set out on a career, compared with how things were just a couple of decades ago.

Yes, there are great opportunities to travel, or have a go at activities, beyond what us parents would have imagined at that age, but what is their longer term outlook? Often with student debt well into five figures, probably distant prospects of being able to buy a house, and an extended working life before they can draw a pension of uncertain but probably limited value – assuming they can actually find a decent job – life could be quite tough for them.

The additional obstacles now facing those hoping to enter the legal profession are therefore a matter of particular concern: the lack of traineeship places, and now also the withdrawal, as from the next academic session, of the grants hitherto available to at least some Diploma students.

The Scottish Government has done itself no favours by not consulting on the issue in advance. Its replacement loan scheme, while not capped at 300 awards like the grants, has a money limit that will leave students still needing to find between 40 and 50% of the course fees themselves, never mind any living expenses.

The Journal's main feature this month explores what, if anything, might be done for them. No one is expecting private firms to step in to help out, although any who do make a contribution are to be commended. But pressures on Government spending being what they are, extracting concessions will not be easy.

There is a strong case, though, given that the Diploma is a compulsory step in the professional qualification. Capping the proposed loan at the amount of the previous grant seems arbitrary when considered against the fees now being charged. Even making further support subject to means testing would do something to reduce the feared impact on access to entering the profession by those of more limited means.

And is it too much to expect the universities to take a further look at the potential for a five year combined degree and Diploma course? It is understandable that the respective cost bases of the two courses are different, but given what the universities are proposing to charge even undergraduates who are liable to tuition fees, that should not be an excuse for inaction.