Professional Training Year

Oriana Savvidi, Final Year Law Student 

Why did you choose to do a Professional Training Year?

I came to study with no previous work experience in the UK and I believed that I was at a disadvantage. The placement year gave me the opportunity to finish my degree with a year working full time in my area of interest under my belt. This also allowed me to experience the area of law I believed I was interested in and then choose my third-year modules accordingly. 

How did you find the application process? 

I was quite unlucky in the sense that I applied for placements right before the pandemic (so December of 2019) and then most of them got cancelled. This was a common experience for the cohort going on placement that year. I finally accepted an offer in June 2020 from the first placement I applied to in November 2019. So even though the application process was not necessarily difficult, the process was drawn out because of COVID-19.

What type of work did you get to do on your placement? 

I was a legal caseworker for the National Centre for Domestic Violence. During my placement, I got to talk with domestic violence victims and take their witness statements for different domestic violence orders (like Non-molestation orders, occupation orders and prohibited steps orders). I also took their information to put their court paperwork together.

What do you think you gained from the experience?

I gained knowledge of domestic violence orders and how the court system works. I believe that most importantly, I learnt how to deal with difficult disclosures and gained professional etiquette. The latter is something that I have already used in other work environments and the ability to effectively deal with disclosures I have used in my personal life. The commitment to a full time job can also not be underestimated, as I have now experienced the work environment, before I even finished my degree.

If you could give any piece of advice to future placement students, what would it be? 

Although it may seem daunting, I would say persevere with it. Keep pushing, keep applying, keep looking for placements. Even if you can’t find one, you can find a company you are interested in and ask them to provide one. Most importantly, believe in yourself and believe you are the best person for the job. If you don’t think you are the best, why should they?

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