Aspire to Be is a new careers programme at the Academy. Every fortnight during Key Stage 4 lunchtime we invite a visitor into the Academy to present to Year 9 -13 students about their job role, their route into the career and the qualifications they needed.
Organiser Vice Principal Mr Trainor said “I am delighted with how this new initiative is being received, and by the enthusiasm of the people who have volunteered their time to come in and inspire, motivate and raise the aspirations of our students.”
Presented by Charlotte Hook and Sarah McNair, Myerson Solicitors LLP
Charlotte is a Commercial Property Solicitor, and Sarah is a former student of the Academy who is a trainee solicitor, who is working her way through a two-year post-qualification experience period before she specialises.
Charlotte explained that lawyers fall into two categories – barristers, who attend court as defence or prosecution, and solicitors who are office based and deal with research and legal paperwork.
A solicitor’s day may include writing and responding to e-mails, writing letters, having meetings with clients to take instructions. They look after documents, help agreements to be reached, and constantly use written and verbal communication skills.
Becoming a solicitor involves hard work but is a rewarding and challenging role, which can attract good salaries.
Sarah talked about the educational path to become a solicitor. Prospective solicitors will study A levels or equivalent and study to degree level. These may be in law, but could be in other subjects. Good subjects to study include history and English. If a prospective solicitor takes a degree in a subject other than law, they must complete a Graduate Diploma in Law, which is a one-year conversion course. After this, they can choose to take the Legal Practice Course (LPC) to prepare for becoming a solicitor, or the Bar Professional Training Course, to prepare for becoming a barrister.
Charlotte talked about working conditions – solicitors tend to be contracted for office hours e.g. 9am – 5pm, but actual hours worked can vary depending on workload and the culture at a particular firm.
She explained the qualities needed to be a successful solicitor, which include:
Presented by PE Teacher Miss Riches
Miss Riches talked through her path to becoming a PE Teacher. She was very interested in sports at school and focussed on those, taking a BTEC Sport at college. She then went on to do BSc Sports Science at the University of Birmingham. After this, she successfully applied for a sports scholarship at Butler University in America. While in America she studied for a Masters degree in English Literature. On returning to the UK, she did PGCE in Secondary Education at Bangor University. Her advice to students was to always take opportunities to gain experience, for example volunteering at youth groups and sports groups. She also explained how challenging herself has lead to bigger achievements, such as studying in America and having to write in American English for an English Masters and doing PGCE at a Welsh university and having to learn some Welsh.
Mis Riches explained that being a teacher isn’t easy, and that teachers work many more hours than 9am – 3pm term time. However, she finds the role very rewarding as she gets to see people go from knowing very little to knowing a lot, from failing a mock exam to passing a GCSE and overcoming struggles big and small. Her key message was that aspiring teachers need something that students can start building straight away: EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE.