1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I worked for Nasim & Co Solicitors in east London, as a clerical assistant. My daily tasks included answering phone calls and helping customers with making appointments, and dealing with customers when they came in for appointments. I worked alongside the receptionist. Internally, I dealt with anything that solicitors needed such as photocopying or writing letters for them. Externally, I made sure customers knew when their appointments would happen and that they had a good time while waiting for their appointments. I was responsible for the post in the morning and in the afternoon: in the morning, I'd get the post to the office, and in the afternoon I'd post any letters. I also handled money, taking it to the bank if needed.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I've learned how to answer phone calls professionally and calmly, without losing focus, while being able to solve issues on the spot if there were any. I also learned how to deal with customers as it was my first work experience, so I was able to interact with them, and learn how to work in a professional environment. I was able to develop team work skills, as I had to work alongside the solicitors and my manager/the receptionist.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I have enjoyed the programme to a great extent. It was nice being part of a team, even though they were older than me. Sometimes, it felt as if I could have had more direction, as for example on the first day my manager didn't come into work until lunch so I had to answer the phone calls myself. However, I felt like the team truly cared for me, as they shared lunch with me, and gave me very helpful advice. The work experience met my expectations greatly
4. How valued do you feel by Nasim & Co Solicitors?
I felt valued from compliments and being given more responsibilities. I enjoyed taking care of the post, as I felt it was an important job at the workplace, and also when I was allowed to answer phone calls when I learned how the system worked properly. The team looked after me and gave me great tips for my future work.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
It was organised pretty okay. Like I said before, I had to deal with phone calls and the customers alone on the first day since I was left alone without the receptionist to teach me how it all works. That could have been worked on. However, I was given support as soon as things settled down. Sometimes, I was even offered car rides if needed whenever there were many letters to be taken care of in the post office.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The school didn't really keep in contact with me during my work experience. In my first day, I had to deal with the issue myself. However, I managed to. At the end of the work experience, it would have been nice if they offered a chance to talk about it, so that we would know what to put on our CV.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I did feel like I had received a lot of support after the first day. I was never left feeling lost or confused, and whenever I made any sort of mistakes, they were very helpful and understanding. They were never angry or upset with me, and they took the time to explain where things went wrong and how I could improve, which I really appreciated.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I didn't really get any salary. Luckily, while you're at university, you get free bus pass and the workplace for my work experience was extremely close to me so I could take the bus. Sometimes, the receptionist would also give me a ride home. I didn't have to worry about paying for lunch as they had communal lunch shared with everyone, which I appreciated as I tried new food.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I'm unsure of this. But they did offer me the chance to continue working with them over the summer as a volunteer, or any other time, which I thought was extremely nice.
9. Would you recommend Nasim & Co Solicitors to a friend?
It was a really good experience. I would recommend this sort of work experience to any secondary school students who haven't had experience before. While it's not paid, they do offer great opportunity to learn about different areas of work, while also advising you if you mention you'd like to become a solicitor.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Nasim & Co Solicitors?
I would say to be on time. Be prepared for the unexpected such as having to become a receptionist on your first day without training. Being patient, understanding, and realising that the customers are humans just like you with emotions so sometimes you will have to deal with unhappy ones.