Apprentice Blog - The first year
Thursday 26th September 2019
During sixth form, I knew I didn’t want to go to university. I wanted to get stuck into the world of work. Once I had my heart set on working in the law, I was pushed to go to university and told I would be making the wrong decision if I didn’t. So, along with my peers, I applied to universities and received five offers – three of which were unconditional – but despite this, I still knew the university route wasn’t for me so I looked for another way into the law. I discovered the Gordons Apprenticeship Scheme and haven’t looked back since. At the outset, a five year apprenticeship seems like an incredibly long time but the first year has already flown by!
There is a common misconception that an apprenticeship is the easy option, but working full time and studying part time is certainly not easy. My first year at Gordons as an Apprentice Legal Executive has been a huge learning curve but I have found what I want to do, I have learnt more about myself and, when asked if I regret not going to university, the answer is always “No”.
The first tasks for an apprentice are often administrative for the first couple of months, as you get to grips with the new environment. You are gradually given more challenging tasks and more responsibility, so you are never “thrown in the deep end”. The key to learning on the job is to understand or, if you don’t understand, ask ‘why’ you are doing something. Starting an apprenticeship can be very difficult, and perhaps quite scary, as there’s a temptation to feel as though you should know as much as everybody else does but, in many cases, they have been in this job for years: they understand that you have come straight from school and are here to learn.
During my first year I have been given a lot of support from my colleagues throughout all of the tasks I have been given. When I am given more challenging tasks, such as drafting a document, I am always given guidance on what I need to include and I am often given an example of a document from a similar transaction to help me see what I should be doing.
I have also found that having other apprentices around you is massively reassuring. They have been in the same position as you and can often help with any questions you may have, whether it be in relation to the workplace, a particular task, or college work.
College is a whole other aspect of the apprenticeship scheme. Finding the right balance between work, studying and socialising took me a few months to master but it is certainly do-able. It takes a lot of self-discipline, determination and hard work to complete an apprenticeship but if you are studying something you want to learn about, and you are working in an environment you aspire to make a career in, it will all be worth while for the end result.
When making the decision between university or an apprenticeship, it might seem that an apprenticeship is all work with no social life. This is definitely not the case. As long as you balance your study life correctly, you do have time to see your friends and family, and there are always social events and sports teams to get involved with at Gordons, too.
If you’re unsure about a route to take into the law, I can wholeheartedly recommend an apprenticeship.