Maddie, Solicitor Apprentice
Although I’ve always had an interest in law, I was set to study Graphic Design and Marketing at university. I decided to take a gap year after my A-levels to get some general business and office experience and ended up doing a business apprenticeship through my former employer, which was a labelling and software company where I worked for four years. Funnily enough, my colleagues from that job used to joke with me that I should go into law because I was the one they turned to when they needed some research done.
In September 2018, I joined Vets4Pets as a solicitor apprentice. I was over the moon to be offered this opportunity. I was ready for a new challenge, and law is something that can be very challenging. I found out about the apprenticeship via the www.gov.uk website. There was no legal experience or legal education required, which was great as I didn’t have the right A-levels to apply for a law degree programme.
When I applied, the apprenticeship was for a paralegal, but when I mentioned I was interested in studying law and becoming a solicitor, they changed the apprenticeship and enrolled me into a law degree programme at the University of Law in Bristol. So, I’m now at the start of a six-year apprenticeship, which covers three years for my degree and two years for my Legal Practice Course. It’s fantastic.
My time at work is split 80/20 so I spent four days per week in the office and one day per week at home completing my studies. Every week, I need to submit a 1,000 word essay so it’s challenging and time consuming at times. I struggled at the start because I was just starting a university degree and also starting a new job. I had not been in education for four years, and I knew starting university would be hard. It was a little overwhelming, but I’ve now figured it all out, and it’s now all going really well. Really, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
What I like most about law is that it’s always changing, and it’s never boring. My university courses are really interesting and cover all aspects of law, including criminal, tort, property, etc., and it’s great to combine what I’m learning in my courses with what I’m learning while doing my job. As of right now, I think I want to specialise in litigation, working behind the scenes to get all of the necessary documents together and assist with disputes, although, I do think criminal law is interesting as well.
I think apprenticeships are great because you get a taste of what it’s like to do the job. They offer a really good way to get your foot in the door. People always say, “Do your A-levels and then go to university”, but I think it’s important to get some experience under your belt as well.
Every day at work there is always something new to learn, and the team is really busy. I feel I’ve taken to my new job really well, and my manager provides me with positive feedback during my one-on-one meetings with her, which is encouraging and nice to hear. Everyone in my team is really friendly and is always willing to help and to provide good guidance. I honestly feel I’m part of the team, doing real work that is applicable to my area.
Apprenticeships do require commitment, and you need to be dedicated. But, law is what I want to do. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’m thrilled and feel that I’m now set for life…as long as I pass my exams.
To find out about available apprenticeship training with Vets4Pets, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.