My apprenticeship at Shoosmiths by Maxine Houston

My apprenticeship at Shoosmiths by Maxine Houston


Author: Maxine Houston

In support of National Apprenticeship Week, we have asked some of our apprentices to share their experiences of life as an apprentice at Shoosmiths.

Maxine Houston, CILEx Level 3 Apprentice

Why did you apply for an apprenticeship at Shoosmiths?

I had already heard of Shoosmiths as it is a large law firm with a very impressive reputation. I wanted to study with CILEx Law School through their apprenticeship scheme and I found out that Shoosmiths were offering this course. I have always wanted to go into the legal profession but decided against university because I knew that I would probably become less focused on the academic side of things. I knew that I would prefer the apprenticeship route where I could work full-time, earn my wages and learn on the way. I feel that studying something that you are putting into practice every day helps you to learn and understand the working environment even more.

How did you find the application / interview process?

The application process was very easy and everyone was really friendly and helpful. Shoosmiths take your GCSE and A Level results into account when considering your application. The interview process was quite relaxed and somewhat enjoyable. I remember that the interviewers had taken some time to get to know me and it wasn't as formal and strict as interviews are sometimes thought to be.

How did it feel when you found out that you got the offer?

I got a phone call from Shoosmiths the following day to say that they would like to offer me the position. It felt great and was the beginning of a career path for me.

How do you find it to balance working and studying?

My apprenticeship route is through CILEx Law School which allows me to become a qualified solicitor (with qualifications equivalent to a university degree) by the end of it. This means that a lot of work has to be put in. However, with apprenticeships, firms or governing bodies usually allow apprentices to have a certain amount of time to focus on their studies. I am entitled to half a day every week to focus solely on my studies, as well as having access to webinars to prepare for exams. Revision sessions are also available for those who want to sit down with a university tutor before the exam.

There are times when I struggle, especially as work can be very busy. However, a lot of the studying is made easier because I can relate it to the job.

What's the best thing about working here?

Honestly, I believe it's the people who I work with. I work within a team where everyone is there for each other. I know that if I need any help or support (whether this be, for example, with answering a phone call or having some time off to do my studying) then my colleagues will always be there to support me.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I want to continue with my studying. The next step after this apprenticeship is to gain the qualifications equivalent to a university degree. This will allow me to become a qualified solicitor whilst working at the same time. Being able to have a step up in the legal profession like this has really helped me to become closer to achieving my goals; I have developed skills that I would never have developed at university and I have already gained one set of qualifications in two years. I hope to continue to build upon this in the coming years.