Saskia Bex is determined to make her mark as one of Taylor&Emmet’s first legal apprentices.
Although she left school at 16, she hopes to one day be a solicitor at the firm that gave her the lucky break last September.
Fuelling her ambition is not just the desire to reward the faith shown in her - it’s the four years she endured from bullies.
“I want to stand up for people, help them fight their corner,” says Saskia, now 17. “That’s what the law does for people.”
The taunts from girls at school began when she was just 11: “My self-esteem dropped so low that I daren’t speak in class. I got through it by writing novels and reading detective stories, which made me even more interested in the law.”
She was one of hundreds who applied for one of three legal secretarial apprenticeships with Taylor & Emmet when they launched the scheme for the first time last summer.
“I had two interviews and got a place. It felt amazing to have such faith shown in me,” she says. “The firm has given me an opportunity to do something with my life,” says Saskia, who is now working towards her CILEX Level 3 Legal Secretarial Certificate (NVQ) and a City & Guilds Level 2 Maths qualification. “There is a lot of study - I do an hour before work and four hours a night weekdays because I want to show the people who have gone out of their way to give me support that I am grateful,” she adds.
“Some of the women here have really inspired me to go for my dreams of being a solicitor one day. It will take me eight years to become a legal executive, then more years to become a solicitor. But I am determined to get there.
“I’m so much more confident thanks to my apprenticeship. I’ve grown and matured. I didn’t dare pick up the phone when I first got here and was so afraid to ask for help, but all that has changed.
“I do sometimes wonder about the girls who called me names. I don’t wish anything bad for them, but I’d like them to realise I’ve overcome what they did.”