At Barrister-Direct, we are committed to investing in the future of the legal profession and there is no better way to do this than to invest in those that will be a part of it. It is for this reason that in March 2016 we took on our first apprentice, Charlie Schofield. Charlie originally joined the firm as an Administrative Apprentice and has progressed to become a valuable member of the Paralegal team, working in our Personal Injury division. We couldn’t be prouder of how much she has learnt and developed throughout her legal journey and we’re very excited to support her towards becoming a qualified Legal Executive and in turn, a Solicitor.
Almost at the end of her apprenticeship, we asked Charlie about her thoughts on why she did an apprenticeship, what she expected it to be like and what is next for her.
So, Charlie, why did you do an apprenticeship?
The thought of an apprenticeship really interested me whilst I was looking into it. I had just left college with no idea of what I wanted to do next! I would say that I am someone who is more of a productive learner and I have a hard work ethic, which I didn’t want to waste on just sitting in college. I wanted to do something which would be much more beneficial than simply sitting in a lecture being talked at for hours, I wanted to be right on the front line and was eager to just jump right in! For me, doing an apprenticeship gave me the opportunity to work alongside professionals and learn from them too, which is advantageous for anything I want to do in my future. It taught me so much and has surpassed anything that I would have learnt at College/University.
What did you expect an apprenticeship to be like?
At first, I did just expect it to be a basic office job, in a quiet office where people would literally have their eyes to computer screens for 8 hours a day, and although half of that is true, it’s nothing that I expected at all! In fact, it was the complete opposite. Truthfully, I didn’t expect the hard work and long days that would come with this job, but aside from that, I didn’t expect to be around people who could work so hard but have such a laugh! Everyone is always so hard at work here but for some parts of the day you get to see the other side of your colleagues and what’s underneath. The atmosphere is so friendly, there is always some music playing in the background – we sing along, we dance and we laugh but despite this, we all do work extremely hard too!
The time that I have spent here has literally flew past, I started as a Business Admin Apprentice opening post and scanning a bunch of papers, but now, after being trained by Monica, I am doing fee earning for the team and have been given my own set of over 100 files to work on and to help my team leader with. I settled into the job so quickly that I didn’t even realise how much progress that I had made over the past 10 months, and I am actually quite proud of myself for the steps that I have made from starting in March 2017, and the fact that I am trusted to do things off my own back that I never thought that I would, or even could, do!”
What is the best thing about being an apprentice?
There are so many reasons why I enjoy being an apprentice. I enjoy being able to learn on the job whilst also getting a qualification at the end and the fact that it acts as a guide and a pathway to your future. You get to do try things out with an apprenticeship I think, you can find employment in something that you enjoy without having any qualifications and I feel like they give you a fair chance to make something of yourself. Also, being an apprentice has helped me build some friendships with people that I never would have expected to meet, and be in a comfortable environment which feels like a family, which is the best feeling!
What next for Charlie Schofield?
I haven’t really thought much about what I’m going to do when my apprenticeship finishes with Barrister Direct in March, but I have been given so many opportunities. The Directors, Andrew McKie and Ian Skeate have really kindly offered me to complete the CILEX course to become a Legal Executive, whilst still working here at Barrister Direct. This is so overwhelming for me to know how hard I have worked to earn this opportunity, and how much I am supported by my team. I am nervous about my next step once the finish line comes around, but after this experience I am very excited!