Courtney Chance writes about her experience of being a legal apprentice in Bond Dickinson's apprenticeship programme and the opportunities the role has given her on a daily basis.
The apprenticeship at Bond Dickinson consists of completing and demonstrating two types of skills. These are competency units, which are skills that I need to demonstrate regularly in order to prove that I am competent in the work that I am undertaking; and knowledge based units, which consist of exams and coursework-style tasks in which I demonstrate that I have the correct legal knowledge to be an effective member within the legal profession. The competency based units are completed by either writing a personal statement outlining what has been done and when, with the appropriate evidence, or by being observed by our CILEx assessor. Our CILEx assessor looks over all of our work and informs us if there is something that we need to do or change in terms of meeting these competency based criteria. The knowledge based aspects are assessed by way of examinations or coursework-style documents produced by us. We are provided with a manual for each of the knowledge based units which contains all of the information we need to know in order to succeed. We also have access to weekly webinars which are effectively online classrooms with a CILEx tutor, who runs through the important information and clarifies anything we may need to know.
My apprenticeship at Bond Dickinson has, so far, been massively beneficial to me in terms of not only improving my legal knowledge, but also in developing my personal skills. I have been able to develop skills such as organisation, reflective learning, time keeping, and my confidence in the work I produce has grown. I have seen huge improvements in terms of the quality of the work I produce since starting at the firm in September 2015. I am given a lot more responsibility than I initially thought I would be given and this has played a role in boosting my confidence. The apprenticeship to me means that I am given the opportunity to get my foot in the door of the legal profession at an early stage, gain the necessary legal knowledge for a career in law, and gain valuable experience at the same time. I feel that I am supported massively by my mentor and I know that I am able to refer any difficulties that I may have back to him. Our supervisor also plays an active role in ensuring that we are supported and will often be our collective voice if we face any issues. I have recently moved into a new team and feel as though I have been given the opportunity to further my skillset and gain further knowledge on a different area of law. I think this is important as it gives me the chance to experience working in more than one area of law and make an informed decision as to which area I would like to specialise in.
I have attended multiple careers events at schools and fairs to promote the apprenticeship. I was keen to be involved in these events as I am aware that not many school leavers know about the possibility of an apprenticeship in law. This is something that I wanted to help change as I know that the apprenticeship route into a career is much more desirable to many students than university or further education, as was the case for me.