Sometimes even induction can require an Olympian effort

After five years of education, three gap years, travelling through nine countries and countless part-time jobs (including ‘mushroom picker’), the start of my training contract has finally arrived!

Following a week spent training in the firm’s Manchester office, the infamous residential induction week in Bedford was upon me.  Before you begin your training contract with Pinsent Masons you hear a lot of rumours about what to expect from your week spent here so I was looking forward to experiencing it for myself.

The main purpose of the week is to undertake the required Professional Skills Course.  I had heard that the week involved eating your body weight in food, and coming back a stone heavier…this certainly did not disappoint.  Every meal had the potential to be three courses, before I went I told myself I was going to eat lightly, but before I knew it I was enjoying a crème brulee for lunch (how decadent!) and considering the jelly to be the healthy option!

The week began (as most of our training has done so far) with a strong coffee for those of us not yet used to the early starts, and catching up with those trainees from other offices we had made friends with the previous week .  The first two days were spent with two fantastic speakers Doug and Peter who made learning client care and professional skills the most ‘fun’ it could be, and involved me admitting that my mum cooked a whole side of salmon in the dishwasher to a room full of eighty people!

The final three days was set aside for us to be taught business finance skills, which we would be later examined on.  Having sat the exam this is not as scary as it sounds once you have completed the LPC – although my results when they arrive may tell a different story!

It wasn’t all hard work in Bedford, we had a pub quiz one evening where everyone got a bit more of a chance to meet one another, and even when my team recruited a ‘ringer’ to help us out (a 65 year old man named Ron, who just happened to be staying in the same venue as us) I’m pretty sure we were skimming the bottom of the table with our score.  We also watched some sport together (England scraping a late draw against Ukraine); a few of the more active (stupid?) of us took to going for an early morning run around the nearby lake.  Those more sensible used their free time to use the gym and pool facilities provided to us.

I’m sure that most people who went would agree that the highlight of the week was the talent show on the final night. We had been set an ‘Olympic’ fancy dress theme, which everyone adopted in good humour, and lead to me dressing as Boris Johnson – yes, that’s me with the flag!

First up in the x-factor style competition was Birmingham, who did an amazing version of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘time after time’; cleverly renamed ‘I’m billing time’ (you had to be there).  Next was our turn as Leeds trainees; we had chosen to take advantage of the fancy dress and re-create the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, with a mixture of singing, dancing and very tight morph suits. Thirdly came the turn of London, who did ‘a day in the life of a trainee’ through a number of very clever and hilarious sketches, and they had the whole room in stitches.  Finally, Manchester turned the spotlight on the rest of us and in the Olympic spirit re-created a school sports day involving hard boiled eggs and grazed knees!  I am very pleased to tell you that the judges chose Leeds as the overall winners, which we were all really proud of considering the high standard of talent everyone produced.

What I hope you take from this post is that whilst a training contract with the firm does involve a lot of hard work, there is also plenty of fun to be had too…