The last four years have been an absolute rollercoaster. Moving on from my legal secretary role at The Wilkes Partnership, I started my legal apprenticeship with the firm and now, three years later, I have been nominated for the Solihull Chamber Apprentice of the Year Award.
It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but as with any opportunity like this it never is. However the hard work has definitely been worth it. My experience just shows that whatever career route we take, we just need an opportunity to fulfil our aspirations and, have the support to achieve it.
For me, the nomination I received in September was my biggest achievement. It wasn’t something I expected to get but it was something I had worked hard for.
My own career path started differently to most that choose to be a solicitor. When most of my peers were going to study at university, I didn’t have that opportunity due to reasons outside of education.
However, that didn’t put an end to my own aspirations of working in the legal profession, and at the age of 18, I successfully applied for a trainee legal secretary role at The Wilkes Partnership.
Following a year working with the firm, I had gained confidence in my role and had picked up a greater understanding of the workload, rather than just the theory, and when I was asked if I wanted to join the apprenticeship scheme, I grasped the opportunity with both hands. Guided by Audrey Price, and with Sarah Begley and Jas Dubb mentoring me, I soon saw for myself why the scheme has such a good reputation within the legal sector and the region. And knowing that our senior partner Nigel Wood was trained at The Wilkes Partnership, is proof that the firm really does want to invest in talent.
Four years on, and I have experience in a range of practice areas including property, residential, employment, insolvency and M&A across both the Shirley and city centre offices. The time spent in these fields has helped me decide that I want to specialise in employment law – its people-centric approach really appeals to me. I am not convinced I would have been able to get a real feel for which practice area to focus on if it wasn’t for the hands-on training and face-to-face client time that I have had on the scheme.
The culture of the firm is to boost your confidence by trusting you to do the work with adequate supervision. It’s a fast-paced environment, and I’ve continually learned new skills. That said, if there are moments where I’ve needed help, then Jas has always been there to offer advice – even when the office is at its busiest.
Even though I have only been an apprentice for three years, there have been many high points, and they keep on coming. From the moment I got onto the apprenticeship scheme, to this nomination, The Wilkes Partnership has supported me.
I still have three years to go on my apprenticeship, and am relishing taking all the opportunities presented to me. The firm has given me the chance to realise my dream – and for that I plan to be here for years to come fulfilling my aspirations to become a solicitor in my chosen field.
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