Hello, I Am Tomasz
Don't underestimate the challenge of an apprenticeship. However, it's worth it in the end!
Tell us more about your experience
My daily activities consist of assisting with legal matters in the Real Estate sector at my firm. Recently, I changed teams, and the focus of my days shifted from dealing with property transaction documents to now drafting some myself. Additionally, my main workstream is concerned with commercial contracts as well as some Real Estate.
Some of the most interesting things I have assisted with include work on the London Power Tunnels Project where we negotiate easements to allow the works to go ahead. Other than this, I have been involved in big scale Asset Management work for properties in the heart of London. My proudest moment at my firm was receiving a widely published ‘congratulations and thanks’ from the office CEO for my assistance during the peak of COVID. I came into the office to help run essential functions while we couldn't have many people in.
“With the years of experience I’m gaining in my apprenticeship, I have a huge advantage over those pursuing the traditional university route!”
I decided to start an apprenticeship mainly because I was terrified of the debt that came with a traditional university. Once I started researching online with sites like GetMyFirstJob, I found so many more benefits of following this qualification route that it seemed silly of me not to pursue it. In my profession, the thing that sets one apart is their experience, the ability to do the jobs throw at them no matter what it is. Considering the years of experience I’m gaining while qualifying, this is a huge advantage over the traditional route.
I also discovered that staying at school for huge amounts of time was not something I would like to continue. Considering I was acquainted with self-study already, the scheme and its focus on independent learning was not a big change to how I have already been studying. In doing the scheme I’ve realised I enjoy putting what I learn into practice, more than just learning the theory. While it is more limited in the scope of how many different things you can do, if you perform well and practice – the firm is more than happy to help you develop.
“Make sure you research as much as you can!”
To anyone considering an apprenticeship, my first piece of advice would be to research as much as you can! I couldn’t rely on the resources given to me by my school and my choice was informed by what I learnt outside of this. Secondly, the scheme can be challenging, it can’t be underestimated. Yet, it will provide you with so much experience which is crucial in such a competitive job market.
One of the more challenging aspects of my apprenticeship was the need for relocation. As an 18-year-old, moving across the country when I hadn’t lived here for that long was huge. I was unsure of everything, but it was the best thing I could have done – I’m so happy that I followed my dream job. Additionally, as an ethnic, gender, and sexual minority, it felt rather overwhelming in the office at first.
I was afraid I’d have to present and behave in a strict, heteronormative way. However, what happened was the opposite. While at work I was able to come to terms with my gender identity as a non-binary person; my fears were definitely unjustified! Those that I study and work with are so understanding – we’re all adults with bigger issues to worry about than my identity after all. I enjoyed the shift towards open conversations about the struggles for minorities which are really being explored in greater depth. It’s allowing change for the better!
“While working, I was able to come to terms with my identity as a non-binary person!”
Whenever I have found myself struggling, in work or university studies, I knew I could rely on my fellow apprentices, colleagues with more experience than me, and my manager who was always on hand who knew better than anyone how to make things work out. Any issue I’ve had, of any nature, I always felt I could share with my manager who would try her best to help.
One of the most crucial skills I’ve developed is time management. I quickly found that though I had experience managing my time, there was so much to learn. Keeping on top of multiple deadlines and managing expectations as to when or if they can be met is so important. I am now more proactive and flexible. While it might be easier to stick to your comfort zone, it’s so important to try more challenging things. People appreciate those who work hard and show they want to develop themselves. Even if you fail on the first attempt, it shows you’re willing to learn.
Lastly, something else I had to learn to do is ask plenty of questions. I was used to going through with things alone and when I didn’t understand something I thought it easier to research and give things a go without asking for help. I quickly found that people are more than happy to support you. Asking for help is never bad, it shows that you care about the work and are willing to understand which is much better than stubbornness and being a single player in a team.
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