Hello, I Am Saskia
I wanted to learn from experienced legal professionals who would be able to give me insight that university can’t provide in a practical sense!
Tell us more about your experience
I’m quite new to my role, but initially, I've been shadowing witness interviews and Preliminary Hearings. However, despite not being in my apprenticeship for long, I've had the opportunity to jump straight into some chargeable work such as bundling for a Senior Partner. I'm in the early stages of my apprenticeship so my responsibilities will only keep growing!
One of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved in so far would be when I collated relevant documents to go into a bundle that was to put forward in our arguments. It made me really think like a lawyer and understand the process of cases even better. I initially chose the apprenticeship path as I decided that I wanted to get straight into work. I wanted to learn from experienced legal professionals who would be able to give me insight that university can’t provide in a practical sense.
“If you’re also considering an apprenticeship, do your research!”
It’s so important to figure out which apprenticeships interest you and you really have to weigh up the pros and cons of your choices. Attend events hosted by apprentices, or even contact some via LinkedIn or Instagram! It’s great to get insight from the people who are experiencing an apprenticeship first-hand so they can answer any questions you might be unsure about.
I did experience some adversity before applying to my apprenticeship. I took a gap year to gain some experience in the legal field with the aim of obtaining an apprenticeship the next year. The pandemic limited so many opportunities and I was unable to achieve my goal of becoming a legal apprentice at that time. Instead, I decided to take an extra year out because I was so determined to go down the apprenticeship route.
The next year wasn't without its difficulties, I struggled with the application process, particularly the assessment centre stage. Time after time, I would get to the final stage and be unsuccessful – and this lasted for months. However, I kept going, practicing some of the potential exercises, timing myself and practising interview questions with my boyfriend. Most importantly, I eventually just acted like myself, being natural in my last interview is what allowed me to get my apprenticeship!
“To be successful in my application I just acted like myself in my interview – it’s so important!”
Everyone in my team is supportive, they're all so willing to answer my questions. I have a supervisor who oversees my apprenticeship and monthly one-to-one sessions to check how I'm settling in or to help me if there's anything I'm unsure of. My training providers are also supportive and hold drop-in sessions and forums to ask questions we have. I also have a tutor that can help me if I have any issues with my course.
While in my apprenticeship I have picked up loads of skills. I would say that I've developed a great deal of independence, confidence in my abilities. I'd say I'm more accepting of making mistakes, as an apprentice you're bound to make mistakes. I embrace them and constantly think of how I can do better next time. After my apprenticeship, I would like to progress onto a Solicitor Apprenticeship, but this really depends on my performance and availability of roles. I’ll then be able to progress like everyone else in the company as a Solicitor!
“If you really want to complete an apprenticeship, then go for it!”
It can be quite a long process, but it’s really a rewarding one! Apprenticeships are not less valued than the traditional route of university, and more and more people and employers are embracing them. There's such a variety of apprenticeships now and some involve rotating around departments to get a flavour of other areas.
The social life of an apprentice has always been something that requires more effort than the university experience, but apprenticeship providers such as mine are trying to tackle this with an apprentice society where we can meet fellow apprentices on our course. Some apprenticeships even have in-person study days so there's a chance to meet people on your course that way as well.
I used a variety of websites, including GetMyFirstJob. I think it’s incredibly important to look at various websites and not just rely on one. I found GetMyFirstJob very useful, and I loved the use of a map to try and figure out exactly where the vacancy is. It helped me to pinpoint how to get to various offices and if it would be a practical location for me. It's great that they don't just have degree apprenticeships and the vacancies are categorised into various industries, making it easier to find a particular vacancy you have in mind!
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