Stephens Scown has a diverse, dynamic apprentice recruitment scheme; in this article, Oliver Meredew shares his experiences as a Communications Apprentice.

I joined Stephens Scown as a Communications Apprentice in 2018, and this has been my first time working at a law firm. You might not think that legal work is all that exciting, but keep reading to find out why I’ve been lucky to work with a great marketing team at a great company.

Communications are a big part of our business, whether it’s keeping our solicitors up-to-date on our intranet, sharing good news across the firm or sending out press releases and putting together features for advertising. We’re also big on social media, and have you ever heard of a law firm using Instagram? Our team is at the front of the pack online and offline!

An opportunity for anybody and everybody

I’d heard about apprenticeships as an alternate route to work as I went through my educational career, but hadn’t given them much thought initially. I went from college to university, but despite graduating with first class honours, I still found it a real struggle to get a good job after coming home to Cornwall.

I got the feeling that despite my degree, I hadn’t come away from university with solid work experience or skills, so going down the apprenticeship route seemed an ideal way to get real workplace training while securing a future career.

I had worked in a marketing department previously and really liked the creative side of things that involved sharing stories, so Stephens Scown’s marketing apprenticeship ticked all the boxes for me when I was looking for fresh employment.

Before applying, I thought that apprenticeships were only available to college-age people, so it was a relief to find out from Emma King, the firm’s Graduate Recruitment Officer, that the firm’s apprenticeships are open to all comers, from people fresh out of college to people like me who had already been to university.

Fulfilling my inner storyteller

As a Communications Apprentice, I help to manage the firm’s intranet and its external media. We’re a very people-focused law firm, so there are plenty of good news stories that we put up on our intranet as well as tips for getting more work or interacting with clients. Externally, we put out all kinds of media, whether it’s website articles about legal news, press releases, opinion pieces or advertisements for magazines (to name a few).

After completing my university course I had my sights set on becoming a journalist or a reporter, and working in the marketing team has helped me to realise this goal. As well as doing plenty of investigation on legal news and getting in touch with clients to produce case studies, I also get to edit stories and have even had my work published in the Western Morning News.

In addition to receiving plenty of on-the-job training, my apprenticeship with Stephens Scown also includes one day a week at college, where I and other apprentices are taught marketing skills that directly improve our abilities at work. Being able to learn about marketing one day and put this knowledge into practice the next is a great help; I might be using coding skills to improve the firm’s website, or planning better social media posts with my new abilities.

Away from the desk

It’s not all college and desk work; during my time at the firm I’ve had plenty of opportunities to get out and about in the South West by helping out at events and trade shows.

One of the early highlights was attending Cornwall Skills Show in 2018, where I got to meet the next generation and encourage them to consider a career in law. Our stand was focused on intellectual properties, and used a Kahoot quiz with prizes to engage with secondary school children.

I have also been to the Royal Cornwall Show with the firm, which involved meeting our clients around the showground and helping out our partner organisation, the Cornwall Young Farmers Club.

Working at Stephens Scown has also let me give back to my local communities through volunteering events; I ran the Eden Project 5k for the Hall for Cornwall and have also run in the ROC 5k, an annual event in Truro that the firm always gets involved in.