Legal Apprenticeships can be very challenging and demanding, especially when they relate to a job that you have had no previous exposure to. During my time as an apprentice with Lyons Davidson, the thing that I have found the toughest is managing the balance between learning the law side of things, putting them into practice and working all at the same time.
My tips on how to succeed in an apprenticeship are:
Ask questions – I am constantly asking questions to my colleagues and managers on anything I am unsure of. I have found that by asking questions to colleagues you are likely to get more than one answer, which often starts a debate on how the answer could be this, but then again could be that. I have found that by asking one question, you can learn a lot more than you were asking, which is very useful.
Set aside time for work and plan ahead – It is extremely important to set aside time to complete the college work required. The apprenticeship is a balance of office based legal work and class room based learning – both of which are very demanding. It is therefore essential that you plan in advance to ensure that you have left enough time to complete the tasks to the best of your ability. Doing a good job first time is much better than having to go back and redo things later on – it saves time and makes a better impression.
The work life balance –The work life balance is essential when completing an apprenticeship, or any job. It is important to have a life outside of work and enjoy yourself. This benefits your working life also. You will find that your performance is better when returning to work the next day and you are prepared for the day ahead.
Do what is asked of you – This is my top tip. I have found on my apprenticeship that it is important to take every opportunity offered to you. When I began the apprenticeship, I was asked by my line manager to use the telephone to discuss liability on a case with the other side. My first reply was “no” – this was not something I was comfortable in doing yet, however with a little encouragement I called the other side, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! I found that every day, I began to use the telephone more and more. I found myself calling clients and third parties without thinking and soon began to use the telephone rather than corresponding by post or email. This has been my approach to all aspects of the apprenticeship, say yes to everything as this will help you learn, develop, gain confidence and succeed.
Luke Williams is in the second year of his apprenticeship with Lyons Davidson, based in our Cardiff Office Defendant team. He was recently awarded Student of the Year by CILEX.