Former The Castle School pupil, Lucy Reeve, studied Law, Chemistry and German at Richard Huish College and progressed in 2022 to become a Solicitor Apprentice at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP with Apprenticeship provider the University of Law.

Here she shares her experience:

Applying for an Apprenticeship

“My original plan was to go to university and study Law at Sheffield, this had been the plan for years and I had done my UCAS application and received all my offers. I even had accommodation.

“I then heard about Degree Apprenticeships and started looking into them in February 2022. A lot of the firms had already closed their application deadlines but within three weeks I sent off six applications to firms around the country.

“The first stage of the application process for all the firms I applied to were three to five questions that required 200-250 word answers. They were often very specific to each place, and it took a lot of combing the website to see what they want you to include.

“My Law teacher, Chloe, helped me with the application for some of the firms and was very supportive.

“I had to complete an aptitude test for 5 of the 6 firms, this was usually the Watson Glaser Test. Following my results of these tests and the rest of my application, I received two interviews”.

Interviewing for an Apprenticeship

“The interview for Womble Bond Dickinson took place in multiple parts, beginning in April.

“They invited 30 applicants across two separate sessions to the assessment centre. It lasted for 3 hours and included an assessed group activity, a written exam, and speed interviewing.

“The speed interviewing was interesting as it was something new for me. It involved eight interviewers around a room, and we would each get 5 minutes with each before moving on.

“A few weeks later the firm told me I had advanced to the next stage, a three-day work placement in the office. I sat in the Planning, Operational Property, and Commercial teams and completed a range of tasks set for me from article writing to ranking daily tasks in order of importance.

“I had the final interview which was more formal than the first but still laid back and I felt comfortable”.

Life as an Apprentice

“I am based in the Commercial Digital team in the Bristol office. I assist with several tasks including document review, research, and project management.

“In my second week of work, I travelled to Newcastle to stay for two nights and take part in the induction for all new Trainees and Apprentices. I got to meet the other Apprentices who are based in Southampton, Newcastle, and Bristol as we will be going through this process together.

“From these few days, we now have a group chat of all 25 Trainees and Apprentices where people can ask for help/advice as for many of us this is our first job in a law firm.

“I will be seated in the Commercial Digital team for the first four years of the Apprenticeship, before joining the seat rotation as a Trainee Solicitor in which I will complete four 6-month seats in various other teams, returning to Commercial for the last one.

“I am also doing my LLB at the University of Law and will graduate in four years. I will then prepare to take the SQE 1 and 2”.

Top 5 tips

1) “Don’t narrow down your options unnecessarily. For example, if you think you want to study Psychology at university, you don’t have to base all of your subject choices following school on this decision, you can still choose things you currently enjoy that don’t relate to Psychology at all.

“Having family and friends that also studied at Huish was good as I heard about their experiences, both socially and academically”.

N.B. All applicants to Huish receive an advice and guidance session following their application, choose what you enjoy, and the College will be able to advise you of any subjects essential to your personal goals.

2) “Follow companies on social media and check their websites for new schemes, they might have work experience in the holidays that is specifically tailored to your year group.

“By the time I found out about these I no longer qualified as they were for Year 12 students only.

3) “If you are thinking of applying, try and get your applications in early as firms often hire on a rolling basis! They get very competitive, there were between 400 and 500 applicants for the firm I am at, and they were only taking five Apprentices over three offices.

4) “Make a list of every option available after college e.g. university, apprenticeship, full-time work and then gradually narrow down where you want to be or what subject you want to study.

“Medical Doctor Degree Apprenticeships are coming into force soon which shows that no matter what you want to study, university is not the only option anymore”.

5) “For both stages of the in-person interview process, I made notes on the firm, what they stood for, and their key ideals, and prepped for common questions such as ‘Tell us about a time you worked well in a team’ or ‘What is a time you have failed and how did you overcome it?’.

If you would like advice on how to approach your next steps following Huish and how to maximise your employability, contact the Huish Progression & Careers team.