Case study

Apprentice — Rhianne Nurse

Rhianne works as an apprentice at Langleys Solicitors in the risk and compliance department as an internal auditor. Discover how she got her job

How did you get your job?

I was studying Level 3 business studies at a local college and although the course was interesting, I wanted to get into the workplace and start to gain practical skills. I researched opportunities through a government website and saw an apprenticeship advertised with Langleys Solicitors, with in-house training provided by CILEx Law School.

The apprenticeship offered the practical experience I was looking for, and paved the way for a potential career at the firm. The apprenticeship is also set up with units, an online portfolio and an endpoint assessment, so I have the chance to demonstrate what I'm learning as I progress.

I find that my style of learning is much better suited to the kind of environment that Langleys provides. I can see the real-world application of what I'm studying and really put what I've learned into practice.

If a classroom environment isn't for you and you want to get hands on practical experience, an apprenticeship could be the answer.

What's a typical day like as an apprentice?

With supervision from my mentors I'm involved in what's known as the 'audit function', which provides independent assurance to the firm that its processes and procedures are being followed effectively.

In addition to this, I assist with administrative duties. These include emailing various members of staff, updating documents where necessary, arranging training and meetings and creating monthly reports for our leadership team.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the variety that it offers - regulations are always changing and it's important that we are always adapting.

I also like the level of organisation required in my job, including maintaining a high level of attention to detail and communication with my team.

A great benefit is being able to combine my studies with work, which allows me to be independent and take on more responsibility, while learning and gaining skills through exposure to the working environment.

Throughout my time at Langleys, I've had the freedom to ask questions and make suggestions for future work, based on the knowledge I've developed.

What are the challenges?

This is my first office job. The biggest learning curve has been getting used to the professional setting and learning how the firm operates.

Dipping my toe into the legal profession was also a big step, especially getting my head round the many technical terms. The Langleys team, some of whom have been in the profession for over twenty years, have been very supportive, offering advice and insight into the role and helping me to develop on a personal and professional level.

How has your role developed?

When I first started I knew very little about law or working within a legal environment. With support and guidance from my team, I have successfully grown in my role and gradually taken on more responsibility.

To begin with, tasks such as sending emails seemed daunting, especially when emailing partners and other senior members of the firm. I now feel more confident in carrying out my day-to-day tasks without seeking any guidance from colleagues.

While my career is in its early stages, I have benefited from combining my studies with a work environment. This has given me the freedom to expand my horizons and explore other opportunities, both in and out of the field of law.

For students or graduates I would highly recommend following a similar route into the workplace. While it may require hard work and extra effort, there is a real advantage to 'learning on the job', demonstrating to potential employers your independence, responsibility and commitment.

How do I get into risk and compliance auditing?

If you don't have a background in the industry, don't be afraid of giving it a try. Think of an apprenticeship as a tester - a way to get some hands-on experience of the industry. While you may enter the business with very little knowledge, you'll leave an expert in the field thanks to mentors and supportive colleagues.

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