My training contract so far: halfway to qualification
So, I am nearly halfway through my training contract and now seemed as good a time as any to reflect upon my training contract so far…
I am currently in my third seat but as I previously worked as a paralegal for a year, I have been awarded time to count and will be qualifying four months early in May 2017. I have so far completed a seat in real estate investment, residential property and I am currently in advisory.
What I have learnt so far…
Ask lots of questions. As a trainee, you are not expected to know the answer straight away but you are expected to ask the right questions to get to the right answer. Asking questions demonstrates that you are keen and interested and if you don’t understand the answer ask someone to explain it to you. At the end of the day you are here to learn and what better source of knowledge than the people who have been doing this for years!
Arrange regular catch-ups with your seat supervisor. Maintaining regular contact with your supervisor helps to ensure that you are getting the most out of your seat. If there is a particular area of work that you would like to get involved in, for example, tell your supervisor and they will likely be able to arrange it. Or, if there is something that you are unsure or unhappy about, talk to your supervisor. Your supervisor is there to support you during your seat and you are encouraged to talk to them about your concerns. Of course, everyone is busy and these catch ups sometimes slip down the list of priorities but try to touch base as often as possible, even if it is just a quick 5 minutes.
Enjoy each seat. Having the opportunity to work in six different departments (Cripps Pemberton Greenish offer a six seat training contract) over the course of two years is invaluable, especially at Cripps Pemberton Greenish where you get to experience such a variety of work. There will inevitably be some departments that you enjoy less than others but no experience is wasted. Every department is intrinsically linked in some way and, as you move through your training contract, you will increasingly be able to draw on knowledge that you have gained in previous departments.
If I had the chance again…
Before starting my training contract, I had a set idea of what I thought I would enjoy and I did not pick any seats in the corporate division because I had decided, somewhat without grounds, that corporate/commercial work was not for me. However, I soon realised that I should have picked a broader variety of seats; not only does it broaden your knowledge but it also helps you to get to know people across the firm.
I was originally set to do three property seats but I soon decided that three was one too many and I swapped my third property seat for employment. I switched to employment because it was an area I knew nothing about and I realised that without it I would have a huge gap in my training, having never worked in the corporate division. It also happens to be based in Kings Hill which means I will have a much shorter commute (with onsite parking!) for four months.
If I had the chance again, I would also pick a seat in commercial. The pre-training contract me would never have thought I would be interested in commercial but now that I am halfway through I can see merit in experiencing a whole range of departments. The point of a training contract is to learn as much as you can and not to narrow your options.
Looking to the future…
I am really looking forward to the remainder of my training contract. I still have three months left in advisory and my final two seats are in employment and family. I am yet to work in a contentious department at Cripps Pemberton Greenish and so this will, I am sure, bring a whole raft of new challenges.
It is tempting to want to hurry along your training contract but it is important to remember that you are in a privileged position as a trainee. You have your whole career ahead of you and you are encouraged to explore your options, change your mind and experience as much as you can.
Of course, my ultimate goal is to be offered a Newly Qualified job with Cripps Pemberton Greenish in May 2017 but for now, and in a bid to listen to my own advice and not hurry along my training contract, I will continue to enjoy being a trainee and learn and experience as much as possible over the course of the next year.