Motivation for becoming an Apprentice
I began looking for an apprenticeship when I was unable to sit exams during the COVID-19 pandemic and was awarded grades that would not allow me to pursue a law degree. Instead of giving up I completed a further two years at college and obtained the grades I deserved. During this time, I was introduced to the concept of an apprenticeship by my teachers and was intrigued at the prospect of working in my dream job while simultaneously obtaining a qualification. When looking for a paralegal apprenticeship, I discovered that the FCA provides this route of qualification. Having a passion for financial crime and knowledge of who the FCA are from working in a regulated organisation previously, I decided to do some additional research. I was able to see the FCA mission statement and values. The FCA mission statement and values are aligned to my own.
This was what drew me in; working for an organisation that shares my values is something I am truly passionate about. They seek to protect consumers through their work, and they achieve this through their values of delivering in the public interest while acting with integrity, being ambitious, working inclusively, and being able to connect and deliver.
Knowing the FCA was the place I wanted to work I embarked on the recruitment process which included attendance of an assessment centre. I had to complete a series of tasks, a written exercise, presentation and interview. I prepared for this by researching the FCA, considering which of my skills would benefit the role and anticipating the types of questions I might be asked. I was successful in demonstrating the desired abilities and I was hired as an apprentice at the FCA. This is a significant accomplishment for me because I am the first person in my family to pursue a professional qualification.
Working in such a reputable organisation became a reality when I began my apprenticeship here at the FCA in November. My daily responsibilities include reviewing and evaluating material gathered during investigations and assisting in the creation of disclosure schedules for unused material in preparation for trial. I am also fortunate to be able to gain guidance and knowledge through mentoring opportunities, a variety of training courses, knowledge sharing sessions and The Disclosure Paralegal Community.
So far, I'm thoroughly enjoying my apprenticeship; I'm learning new things every day and expanding my network throughout the organisation. I now have networks across the FCA, which allows me to further develop my professional skills. Many different training exercises have been provided to me, allowing me to grow as an individual and expand my skill set. I'm especially looking forward to the upcoming training I'll be receiving in the coming months and seeing myself grow as a competent paralegal. In addition to this, the FCA promotes a healthy work-life balance, and there are numerous opportunities to interact with colleagues outside of work. I've attended a variety of networking events with my FCA colleagues.
One of the best initiatives I have had the opportunity to be involved in as an apprentice is The CEO Challenge. It allows apprentices and graduates to work together on a community-benefiting project. This provides an opportunity to show senior colleagues that we understand the FCA mission and can collaborate to deliver a project. It enables collaboration within the FCA to build networks with others on the team and throughout the organisation. It also enables apprentices and graduates to gain an understanding of the issues that consumers face daily, as well as the extent to which the FCA's work has an impact.
The benefit of being an apprentice is that you can successfully develop strong internal networks, communication skills, professionalism, and great interpersonal skills, all of which allow you to add value to the business and build your career. I'm looking forward to the rest of my apprenticeship. If you are considering a similar path, I highly recommend it. My best advice to those interested in pursuing an apprenticeship is to be authentic and true to yourself. Always show your passion as this will set you apart from other applicants and make you memorable to recruiters.