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Earn while you learn: a modern apprenticeship in a solicitor’s office

Miya Honeyborne talks about her experience as an apprentice with Boardman Hawkins & Osborne LLP.

When I was studying for my A Levels in English Literature, Philosophy and Maths it felt like my only option after year 13 was to go on to university. Apprenticeships were not really discussed or promoted and so I thought the only thing I could do to pursue my future career goals was going onto a degree in Law. 

However, I was not completely sure that university was the route for me, so I started looking online for other pathways. I did some research and found a few apprenticeships that I would be eligible for. I thought that this way of training would be better suited to me as it is more practical. I would strongly advise anyone considering furthering their education to consider an apprenticeship; it needs to be more widely recognised how many possibilities an apprenticeship may open for you. 

My apprenticeship has made me more open-minded when it comes to my career, and my future. I don’t believe many students realise the wide diversity of job prospects and apprenticeships that are accessible in various fields of work. 

I feel very lucky, that when I contacted BH&O, they were open to exploring this with, and for me. They have recognized that I am keen to learn on the job, and are giving me a broad range of experience. 

In my role I was put straight into working alongside experienced solicitors and other support staff who were all at different stages in their career. I felt I had so much to learn, and I would be taught in a more effective manner. This perfect balance of working and studying was a better fit for me; in this working environment, I felt like I would be able to progress and enhance my skills whilst also doing something that would continue to interest and challenge me. However, this is not the only advantage. The combination of studying and working can be a great way to realise potential opportunities such as gaining additional qualifications, continuing to develop communication skills, and having the ability to assist clients with the required support and empathy.  

BH&O are a specialist family law firm, and I am really enjoying developing my skills in helping people who are often going through very challenging and emotional situations. 

Even though I have only been working for 6 months I have already had a great deal of experience in the legal system that just would not have been available to me had I gone straight from school to university. I get involved with cases by drafting letters to clients and counsel, speaking to the courts and taking calls from prospective clients. I feel I have been able to learn without even consciously trying. I just started to pick it up, just by being around my colleagues.  Of course this has not always been easy, having started in the middle of the pandemic! 

This is, of course, aided by the supportive nature of BH&O. 

I believe the most challenging aspect of transitioning from school to an apprenticeship is the increased amount of responsibility, but this was also something that attracted me to being an apprentice. I was trusted with work from the start and have really enjoyed getting actively involved in things that matter. Adjusting to working hours was a significant change from school. However, the added benefit of being paid on an apprenticeship means I can really enjoy the weekends – I don’t feel that I am missing out at all.

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