Stephens Scown has a diverse, dynamic apprentice recruitment scheme; in this article, Max Miliffe shares his experiences as a Business Administrative Apprentice.
I joined Stephens Scown in 2018 as a Business Administration Apprentice, and following a successful apprenticeship, I am now in a full-time position based within the Intellectual Property and IT Team. They’re a focused, fast-paced and ambitious team that specialises in intellectual property, IT and data protection law.
Every day, I’m looking for opportunities to promote the team’s expertise or share our successes online, and these are just some of the ways that I support the team using my skills picked up as an apprentice.
How my apprenticeship started
I joined the firm having just finished two years at Exeter College doing a BTEC diploma and extended diploma in business studies. After college, I began looking for an administrative role to help gain some experience within a company.
An apprenticeship wasn’t the career path that I was originally looking for, but then I found the role at Stephens Scown advertised online which very much interested me. Getting more information about what the apprenticeship would involve was easy, as I was able to get in touch with the firm’s graduate recruitment officer and they provided lots of information which helped me decide that applying for the role would be the right option.
My apprenticeship comprised of time spent at college, usually one day a week. At college, my tutor would take us through preparation for exams and general business skills, which was a good way to ease me into the workplace environment and provide skills that I could use as part of my role.
Apprenticeships are structured, so I had 20% of my time to focus on the theory work that the college or my skills officer gave to me. This included revising for a particular exam, working on assignments and collating evidence of my work to prove that I had met certain criteria within my apprenticeship workload. The remaining 80% of my time was spent within the workplace, focusing on the normal day-to-day responsibilities.
In order to assist with the running of the team, I have a wide range of responsibilities. These include taking new enquiries by phone or email, performing client due diligence (such as obtaining ID from new clients or company documents) and general admin for the team including diary management, running the team’s Twitter account, printing, scanning, opening and closing files etc. There isn’t really a ‘normal day’ when it comes to the IP and IT Team, due to the wide range of law that the team advises on, you can never predict what support they may need and what your day might entail, which is a good thing!
Some things that always remain the same are our daily morning meeting or ‘team huddle’. This is a quick get-together where the team discusses their capacity, which is where you often find out who needs help with certain work.
There are a few things that I’m likely to do each day regardless of what the team needs, like engaging with relevant news or a client story on the team’s Twitter account to gain more exposure for our work. It’s likely that I’ll also deal with some new enquiries each day or set up a new file on our system, depending on how much work is coming in.
The best bits so far
I have had plenty of highlights during my apprenticeship, like being able to attend careers events such as the Cornwall Skills Show and Exeter College ‘Apprenticeship Expo’, and talking to students about their future careers and the opportunities which apprenticeships can bring.
One of my biggest highlights was the final assessment that I had to do for my apprenticeship. I was tasked with creating and giving a presentation which was put to practical use within my workplace. I gave the presentation to the team, which was about the team’s performance over the past 12 months and made suggestions on what we needed to focus on in the next 12 months. This was a great experience for me, as I am not used to public speaking and it helped me to build my own confidence, the feedback was great.
Since joining the firm as an apprentice, I have completed my course and been offered and accepted a full-time role in the IP and IT Team. I really enjoyed my apprenticeship, which was made easier by the support of the college, my skills officer, my supervisor and the firm. I’m fortunate enough to work within a fun team that are all motivated by providing a quality service to our local, national or international clients, and am looking forward to seeing how my role within Stephens Scown continues to develop as my responsibilities grow.