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My experience of learning at work

Learning at Work Week 2021 aims to celebrate lifelong learning at work and build learning cultures everywhere. The theme this year is ‘Made for Learning’. It encourages us to focus on our human capacity to learn, how we can be great lifelong learners and the importance of connection and community.

We asked Alan Horne, a paralegal training with us, to tell us what he thought about learning at work and if he would recommend it. Alan came to us in a roundabout way which has given him much needed life experience.

Early working life

I left school and discussed with my dad what it is I should do. I had the ambition to become a solicitor, but I had no life experience. My dad advised me to get a trade and introduced me to an electrician who ran a business with several employees and sub-contractors.

I accepted the offer made to me for an apprenticeship and enrolled with the Herefordshire College of Technology. Two and a half years later, I was a qualified electrician and began working for myself.

I incorporated a company with the assistance of my girlfriend, who is now my wife. We built that business up to a team of electricians and apprentices.

It is certainly safe to say that my learning curve was steep during these years, I didn’t quite understand the true meaning of ‘learn from your mistakes’ until I had made them. Those mistakes, however, gave me an education that I’m not sure I would have had otherwise.

Studying for my degree

Following several years of running the electrical business, as well as other businesses along the way, I realised the ambition I had had earlier in life in becoming a Solicitor was still alive. I applied to the University of Law to enrol on their Law with Business LLB and was accepted in August 2019.

It is a great platform if you wish to study law and work at the same time, whether within the law or another line of employment.

The University offers a distance learning platform. Along with the support, the learning material is fantastic. You are assigned personal tutors; they do check in on you. When there is technology involved, there are always technical issues but the technical support team have always helped with any problems.

Learning at work

I joined Kidwells in 2020 which has proved to be a fantastic assistance in studying. Applying the law I was learning to the work I was doing added strength to my studies. It has assisted me in achieving grades that I am not sure I would have otherwise achieved.

I work in the litigation and private client departments offering assistance at Paralegal level. I have the benefit of close supervision at all times. This is great for my education as I am easily able to ask for advice about the matters I am working on.

The assistance doesn’t stop at the level of supervision. The support staff in the firm are very helpful and they assist with my training too. It has been interesting learning how to apply the theory into practice and to assist in achieving great results for the clients. Something I know Kidwells is very proud of.

We have all had to endure COVID and the mass uncertainty that came with it. I am proud to say that I was able to assist the management in many areas other than law. This included technical assistance where necessary.

You may not think that any technical knowledge would help. Due to COVID the courts prefer hearings to be held remotely by video on many different platforms. The court bundles are usually filed electronically. These need to be paginated and electronically bookmarked. This is quite a task when there are thousands of pages.

Ongoing learning

If you are a mature student, perhaps with children or other commitments, I would certainly recommend the University of Law for consideration. That, along with the employment and support, has helped me develop my knowledge and skills far beyond that which I thought would be possible. I really am very grateful to the University and to each of the members of the Kidwells team who have supported me and continue to do so.

A fantastic place to work and learn.

Alan Horne

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