An apprentice’s perspective: Millie Davies and Joseph Knight

In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week, we caught up with some of our apprentices, past and present, so that they can share their stories and experiences of their apprenticeship journeys at Kennedys.

Our award-winning UK legal apprenticeship programme, launched in 2012, sees us actively recruiting from schools and colleges, welcoming people to the firm from the age of 18. This is something that our HR Director, Caroline Wilson, feels is one of the many benefits of an apprenticeship programme as it positively impacts the diversity of the workforce. She says: “I believe passionately that a structured apprenticeship programme, that attracts the best, diverse talent, is of paramount importance to organisations and industries that are considered a centre of excellence.”

In the latest instalment of our apprentice interviews we spoke to HR Apprentice Millie Davis and Marketing Apprentice Joseph Knight.

Millie and Joseph were part of Kennedys’ first cohort of business services apprentices in September 2019.

Reflecting on why she decided to undertake an apprenticeship, Millie, who is based in our Chelmsford office, says: “When I was first introduced to the role of HR I thought an apprenticeship could be a good route to enter this line of work.  However, I was unsure what an apprenticeship really entailed. Through extensive research I found that university definitely wasn’t right for me, so it was at this point I began to look towards the idea of working full time.”

London-based Joseph, who will obtain a level 3 qualification in business administration upon successful completion of his apprenticeship, shared his rationale for choosing an apprenticeship: “I chose to apply for Kennedys because to be able to say I work for one of the top law firms worldwide, is something that definitely adds to my career prospects."

The thing that interested me about Kennedys was their ambition to innovate and develop. The firm’s passion to make a difference enables employees to reach their full potential, an opportunity for growth that I believe no one can pass by.

Touching on what she loves about her HR apprenticeship, Millie says: “Personally, my favourite part of the apprenticeship has been the variety of work that I am provided with, which makes me feel very valued and trusted. Every day is different, this variety has amazed me. For example I am involved in multiple projects all over the world and have been communicating with so many people within the firm at different levels.  My social skills and confidence have definitely improved.”

Joseph adds: “For me, the highlight of my apprenticeship is feeling respected and accepted within my role. Very early into my employment I noticed that my team had a lot of trust in me. They trust me to take care of tasks and single-handedly come up with solutions for any issues that the team may be facing. My opinion is respected just as much as my other colleagues. It feels great to have a say on so many projects that help to make Kennedys the great firm it is today. This has also led to me feeling extremely proud and happy to be in such a position, with a great team around me.”

The pair both shared similar views in terms of what they find challenging about their apprenticeships: “The most challenging part of my job is not being able to help everyone out,” says Millie. “When I started working I tried to commit to as much as I could, I wanted to do more work than I could realistically handle at such an early stage,” adds Joseph, as they both explain how they are learning to prioritise tasks, manage workload and expectations, which they both feel they are getting better at, as Joseph highlights: “Through time, I was able to keep up with the load of work I wanted to, the large quantity of work enabled me to be more productive and efficient through practice.”

This year’s theme for National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Look Beyond’, encouraging parents, teachers, employers and young people to celebrate the diversity and value that apprenticeships bring to employers, apprentices and communities. Millie and Joseph were asked whether their apprenticeship helped them to grow beyond their expectations.

“This apprenticeship has exceeded all of my expectations and set me up for my future career in HR. Whilst before I didn’t even know there was more to HR than the basic admin I now understand there is a variety and change, which HR professionals are required to keep up with. From this apprenticeship I have been able to start working towards my future career prospects,” says Millie.

Reflecting on his apprenticeship journey with Kennedys and where he is now, Joseph says: “The stage of leaving school is difficult if you are not sure what to progress to. I was in this position, like many others, and started to become worried and stuck. I was introduced to the idea of an apprenticeship, which sounded fascinating to me. I put all of my effort into getting an apprenticeship, which paid off in the end. After the stages I went through in the interview process I was thrilled to hear I had got my apprenticeship with Kennedys. Before hearing about the concept of apprenticeships I never would have imagined that I would be in the position I am now. It still amazes me that I have been able to progress to this stage with just my high school education.”

When asked what advice she would give to someone considering an apprenticeship, Millie encourages prospective apprentices to think about career development: “My advice would be to anyone considering starting an apprenticeship is to always consider the bigger picture. Often younger individuals only consider the financial and social gains from an apprenticeship however, sometimes you need to consider what is beyond that,” says Millie. “ It is incredible to be able to start gaining invaluable experience at such as young age,” she concludes.

Last year at The School Leaver Awards, Kennedys won the ‘Best Degree Apprenticeship’ award and we are a former two-time winner of the ‘Top Employer in Law’ - at the same awards.

For more information about what it is like to work at Kennedys, click here.