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A place where I can build my legal career

My Co-op journey started straight after I finished Sixth Form. An apprenticeship appealed to me more than university because it allowed me to get a qualification while also getting the kind of hands-on experience that’s so valuable and rare for people my age. So, I decided to apply for the Level 3 Paralegal apprenticeship.

One of the main reasons I chose to become an apprentice at Co-op Legal Services was the wide range of legal practice areas they operate in. When I applied to Co-op, I wasn’t sure about which areas of law I wanted to study, so the opportunity to expand my knowledge and experience in multiple legal disciplines was something I couldn’t pass up.

I get loads of support to help me qualify

The Level 3 Paralegal apprenticeship takes two years to complete. I get mentoring and support from a team of expert tutors, coaches, and colleagues throughout the programme, and I usually spend about 20% of my time each week on theoretical learning. After 6 months on the programme I started to take on some responsibility for smaller cases, and I’ve since progressed into the role of a Case Manager.

I've built long-lasting friendships with my work colleagues, and in moments where I’ve faced challenges – like uncertainty about how to answer certain questions from clients – my colleague support network has helped guide me. Co-op have also been incredibly flexible when it comes to my studies, allowing me to adapt my normal working day to balance my time between studying and working.

An alternative route into a career in law

The traditional route to a career in law involves studying at university, but that’s not for everyone (and it certainly wasn’t for me). This way I get to earn money and gain real-world experience, while also getting a qualification which will help me make progress towards my career goals.

My apprenticeship provides me with the perfect balance of academic study, hands-on experience, and the support necessary to put my learning into practice. And when I qualify, I can move forward with my career safe in the knowledge I don’t have mountain of debt to pay off over the coming years!

Gabi Chenoweth

Case Manager

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