Chloe Penniston

Chloe is a Legal Services Apprentice with The Burnside Partnership in Combe. She completed A Levels at Matthew Arnold School in Oxford before starting her Apprenticeship in July 2015. Chloe was named Advanced Apprentice of the Year and overall Apprentice of the Year at the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards in March. Find out more.

Why did you choose to do an Apprenticeship?

I had never been keen on going to university, although at school I felt that to pursue a career in law I would need to. I went to an Apprenticeship open evening in year 10 which inspired me to look into Apprenticeships. At school Apprenticeships were not so favoured, so I found it difficult when trying to find out more about them. The majority of my friends and other pupils at school were looking into going to university and were completing personal statements and during sixth form I felt that everyone was being pushed to apply to various universities which left only a select few students wishing to either get Apprenticeships or jobs.

How did you find out about your Apprenticeship?

I found out about my Apprenticeship through the government website. During sixth form I kept an eye on new vacancies and what the different job roles included. There were various Apprenticeships, some focusing on the business side, some focusing on paralegals and secretarial jobs but very few for the legal executive / solicitor route. It was then during my last month of sixth form that I found that The Burnside Partnership were looking for an Apprentice to complete a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Legal Services which is what I had been looking for.

What have you gained from your Apprenticeship?

During my Apprenticeship I have gained so many new skills and confidence. I had never worked in an office before but since starting my Apprenticeship. I find it easier taking to new people and dealing with clients on the phone and during meetings. I have become much more organised and I am now able to plan my workload well. During school I struggled to organise my time and found it hard to fit in all of my work with school and work. I have also gained a Level 3 qualification in Legal Services.

What do you plan to do next?

My Apprenticeship has inspired me to continue with my Level 3 studies and go on to complete my Level 3 diploma in Legal Services which I will start in September. Once I have completed Level 3 I wish to carry on to Level 6.

How will your Apprenticeship help you achieve this?

My Apprenticeship will help me to achieve this, as without completing my Apprenticeship I would not have been in a position to carry on studying with CILEx.

What advice would you give a young person who might be thinking about an Apprenticeship?

If any young person was thinking about an Apprenticeship, I would definitely encourage them to look into them further. I think that it helps listening to other people’s experiences and if like me are not so keen on university then I would advise them that an Apprenticeship is definitely worthwhile and you can gain so much from one. I think in schools university is pushed too much and it is difficult for students to be open about the idea of an Apprenticeship as it is often not favoured. Doing an Apprenticeship gives the student the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time whereas university does not. You also get so much “hands on” experience.

What’s your top tip?

To believe in yourself and to follow your dreams. There are always obstacles that get in the way but I believe that each one makes you stronger and closer to achieving what you want.

How do you feel about becoming an Apprenticeship Ambassador?

I feel excited about becoming an Apprenticeship Ambassador and I am looking forward to encouraging and supporting others. I am looking forward to meeting the other Apprenticeship Ambassadors and seeing what roles/ tasks are ahead of us. Although, I am feeling slightly nervous about taking in front of large crowds.